May #144 : Runaway Hit - by James Wortman

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HIV: Behind the Music

Taking Care of Business

Not by Meds Alone

No Viral Load=No Transmission?

The Stand

Staphing Up


Heads of the Class

Heartburn Hotel

Protein Shakers

Mercury Rising

Britain: Hep C Rings Twice

Pill-Taking Tip

Cardio Risk Raiser

Cholesterol Downer

What's a Girl to Do?

Runaway Hit

The Mother of All HIV Tests

Lights! Camera! Bareback Action!

Prom Night Prep

Apply as Directed

Strong-arming HIV

Healing Fields

Jargon: DWI

Keeping Up With the Joneses

Melrose Place 2.0


Rock Out

Ladies First

Editor's Letter-May 2008

Mailbox-May 2008

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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May 2008

Runaway Hit

by James Wortman

An HIV prevention program searches for runaway youth.

Half of new HIV cases occur in people under 25, and runaway youth are at even greater risk. Now, for the first time, researchers are testing a counseling technique to help protect runaways from behaviors that can lead to HIV.

Developed at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, in North Carolina, the positive-reinforcement strategy is called Strengths-Based Case Management. Previously used to help drug addicts and people with mental illness, it aims to help runaway youth avoid high-risk sex and substance abuse.

Dr. Liz Arnold, an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral medicine, helmed the pilot study. “For those who may not have [positive] adult role models in their lives, it’s really important to provide those connections and support,” Arnold says.

The pilot study, unveiled this past December at the National HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta, examined 21 youths between the ages of 13 and 15 from Forsyth County, North Carolina. Each teen—who had run away from home one to three times—was assigned to a trained adult peer counselor who met with them one-on-one in an out-of-office setting.

The initial results were promising. Now Arnold and her team will examine how the approach can be applied in real-world settings. For that, they will take to the streets.

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