Multimedia program may be effective in prevention of HIV transmission in men with ID

By Jennifer Wells, PhD
Technology Assistance Institute for Intellectual Disability


HIV/AIDS and its prevention have been largely ignored in the population of people with intellectual disability (ID). According to estimates from international organizations (e.g.,
UNAIDS), people with disabilities have increased risk to HIV exposure. In the population of men with mild to moderate ID, bisexual and homosexual behavior, although underreported, is not uncommon.

What did you do in your research?
We conducted focus groups with men with ID , men without ID who have sex with men (MSM) or identify as bisexual, and phone interviews with 36 service providers of men with ID, in order to inform program content and assure relevant messaging around condom use. We created a text-free interactive multimedia computer program (i.e., video, graphics, animation, still photography, audio), that addresses (a) transmission of HIV through sexual contact; (b) HIV avoidance strategies; and (c) taking responsibility for condom usage. We evaluated the program with 37 men with ID, and twelve professionals serving people with ID.

What did you find out?
Results indicate that basic knowledge of HIV and HIV transmission, high-risk fluids, condom facts, use and application improved after the program. Ninety-seven percent (97%) of the men with ID said they liked the program, while average time spent viewing the program was 90 minutes. Eighty-three percent (83%) of providers believed that program content would be comprehensible to their clients, which is important due to the lack of health promotion programs for people with ID.

What are the take-home messages?
Interactive multimedia computer program may provide a highly efficacious classroom environment for men with ID, can be used successfully to teach about HIV/AIDS prevention, and effectively teaches men with ID how to use a condom using video-based training as measured by evaluation of the skill on a model of an erect penis.

To learn more about these findings contact Jennifer Wells and visit our Project Website.

Full Journal Article
Wells, J., Clark, K., & Sarno, K. (2014). An Interactive Multimedia Program to Prevent HIV Transmission in Men With Intellectual Disability. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 119(3), 276-286.

The program is available for purchase from our website, and comes with a user manual with questions for discussion in-group or individual settings.

Other Training/Service Learning Opportunities:
Also on our Tech-Aid website products page, are the following health promotion products in our Live Smart Live Safe collection:
1. Preventing Respiratory Illness
2. Emergency and Disaster Preparedness for People ID
3. Preventing HIV for Men with Intellectual Disabilities
4. Reducing Abuse
5. Reducing HIV for Women
6. Sex and Sexuality for Women with Intellectual and Other Cognitive Disabilities
7. Communication in Intimate Relationships for Women with Intellectual and Other Cognitive Disabilities