Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Trauma and Self-Care (CBT-TSC) in Men Who have Sex with Men with a History of Childhood Sexual Abuse: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Conall O’Cleirigh, Steven Safren, S. Wade Taylor, Brett M. Goshe, C. Andres Bedoya, Samantha M. Marquez, Michael S. Boroughs, Jillian C. Shipherd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


To address childhood sexual abuse (CSA) related distress and HIV risk in men who have sex with men (MSM) using cognitive-behavioral therapy for trauma and self-care (CBT-TSC), which is a novel intervention integrating HIV risk reduction with modified cognitive and behavioral therapy strategies for post-traumatic stress. We compared CBT-TSC to HIV voluntary counseling and testing (VCT)-only in an initial 2-arm RCT in 43 HIV-negative MSM at with a history of CSA and HIV risk. Serodiscordant condomless anal/vaginal sex (CAS; CAS with HIV-postive or HIV unknown status partners) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms (Davidson Trauma Scale: total score and avoidance, intrusions, hyperarousal subscales) were outcomes immediately post-treatment, and at 6- and 9-month follow-up. At post-treatment, CBT-TSC had decreased odds (approximately 60%) of any CAS and greater reductions in CAS compared to VCT-only. Additionally, the CBT-TSC condition experienced greater reductions in total PTSD and avoidance symptoms. At the follow-up visits, CBT-TSC condition had significant reductions in the odds of any CAS and reductions in CAS. However, for PTSD symptoms, only the avoidance subscale remained significantly different compared to VCT-only. CBT-TSC is a potentially efficacious approach to address HIV risk in MSM with a CSA history, with replication and extension in a larger trial needed. This proof-of-concept trial is the first to integrate the treatment of a commonly occurring mental-health syndemic problem in MSM with a health psychology approach to self-care in MSM. Trial Registration NCT01266122.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAIDS and Behavior
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Childhood sexual abuse
  • HIV
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

Cite this