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Effective Interventions

Core Elements & Fact Sheet

About Personalized Cognitive Counseling

Personalized Cognitive Counseling (PCC) is a 30- to 50-minute individual-level, single-session counseling intervention designed to reduce condomless anal intercourse (CAI) among men who have sex with men (MSM) who are repeat testing for HIV. PCC focuses on the self-justifications (thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs) used when deciding whether or not to engage in risky sexual behavior.

Intervention/Strategy Goals:

  1. The intervention aims to reduce condomless anal intercourse (CAI) among MSM who are at high risk for HIV.

Intervention/Strategy Core Elements*:

  • Provide one-on-one counseling focusing on a recent, memorable high-risk sexual encounter.
  • Provide alongside HIV testing, counseling, case management, and primary care health services.
  • Using the Checklist of Thoughts, identify specific self-justifications used to make the decision to have risky sex.
  • Explore the circumstances and context, including any substances, for the risk episode (before, during, and after event).
  • Clarify how these self-justifications are linked to the decision to engage in high-risk behavior.
  • Guide the clients to re-examine the thinking that led to their decision to have CAI including their use of substances and to identify ways they might think differently in future situations.
*Core elements are the characteristics of an individual intervention presumed to be responsible for the efficacy of the intervention.

Additional Information

Capacity Building Branch:    Phone: 404.718.7850    E-mail:
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