NIH News Advisory
Office of the Director
Office of Medical Applications of Research

Tuesday, Feb. 4, 1997

Bill Hall
Office of Medical Applications of Research
(301) 496-4819
Rayford Kyle
National Institute of Mental Health

Concensus Development Conference on
Interventions to Prevent HIV Risk Behaviors

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will hold a Consensus Development Conference on Interventions to Prevent HIV Risk Behaviors. The conference will be held February 11-13, 1997 in the main auditorium of the William H. Natcher Building on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. A news conference* will conclude the 3-day meeting at 1 p.m. EST on Thursday, February 13, 1997.

Recent research indicates that aggressive promotion of safer sexual behavior and prevention of substance abuse could avert tens of thousands of new HIV infections and potentially save millions of dollars in health care costs. To date, however, there has not been widespread agreement among health professionals as to which interventions are most effective in which settings and among which populations. The purpose of this conference is to examine what is known about behavioral interventions for the three modes of transmission--sexual behavior, substance abuse, and transmission from mother to child--that are effective with different populations in different settings. Experts will also discuss the international and national epidemiology of HIV and the history of AIDS prevention efforts.

After 1½ days of presentations and audience discussion, an independent, nonadvocate, non-Federal consensus panel will weigh the totality of the evidence presented and write a draft consensus statement outlining their conclusions and recommendations on this issue. The panel's statement will address the following questions:

The panel will present its draft statement to the public for comment on the morning of the third and final day of the conference. Following this public comment session, the panel will release its final consensus statement at the news conference and take questions from the media. The consensus statement is the report of an independent panel and is not a policy statement of the NIH or the Federal Government. The consensus panel will be chaired by David Reiss, M.D., Professor and Director, Department of Psychiatry, George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, DC. Dr. Reiss will moderate the news conference.

The NIH Consensus Development Program was established in 1977 as a mechanism to resolve in an unbiased manner controversial topics in medicine. To date, NIH has conducted 120 such conferences addressing a wide range of controversial medical issues important to health care providers, patients, and the general public. An average of six consensus conferences are held each year.

Additional information about this conference, including the meeting agenda and area hotels, is also available at the NIH Consensus Development Program web site at To register for the conference, call 301-770-3153.

* NOTE TO TELEVISION NEWS DIRECTORS: This news conference will be broadcast live via satellite beginning at 1 p.m. EST, Thursday, February 13. Following are the coordinates for this broadcast: Galaxy 6, Transponder 16, Channel 16, Downlink Frequency: 4020, Audio: 6.2 and 6.8 C band.