The aim of the study was to determine changes in the rate of decline of immunological parameters after psychosocial group intervention. Subjects were 26 asymptomatic HIV-infected homosexual men who participated in a cognitive-behavioral group therapy (CBT; n = 14), or an experiential group therapy program (ET; n = 12), both of 15 weeks duration. The outcome measures were changes in the decline of CD4 cell counts, and T cell proliferative responses to anti-CD3 monoclonal antibodies from preintervention to 24 months postintervention. No differences in the rate of decline of CD4 cells or T cell responses between the CBT and ET condition were found, and there were no significant changes in CD4 cell count from pre-to postintervention. However, those subjects who showed larger decreases in distress showed a smaller decline in CD4 cell counts. While the rate of decline in T cell responses was significantly less after both interventions, a similar positive change in T cell responses was found in a comparison group of 149 HIV-infected men with similar demographic, psychosocial and immunological characteristics who did not participate in one of the interventions. We conclude that the psychosocial intervention programs tested here did not cause changes in CD4 cell decline or T cell responses and that decreases in distress were related to increases in CD4 cell counts.
- HIV infection
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