Comprehensive Education about Sexuality

Numerous studies and evaluations published in peer-reviewed literature have looked at sexuality education programs.  Studies have shown that comprehensive education about sexuality, programs that teach teens about both abstinence and contraception/ disease prevention, are an effective strategy to help young people delay their initiation of sexual intercourse, reduce the number of sexual partners they have,  and increase condom or contraceptive use when they do become pregnant.  


EVALUATIONS

The studies listed in this section are reviews of evaluations of interventions designed to prevent HIV, other STDs, and teen pregnancy. 

Sex and HIV Education Programs for Youth: Their Impact and Important Characteristics

Source: Doug Kirby, et. al., Sex and HIV Education Programs for Youth: Their Impact and Important Characteristics (Scotts Valley, CA: ETR Associates, 2006).

Description:  The researchers gathered information on 83 different studies of effective education programs that showed an ability to reduce risks for HIV, other STDs, or unintended pregnancy. Of the 83 studies reviewed, 56 were based in the United States. Programs targeted young people ages 9–24. 

Key Findings:

  • Of the 52 studies that measured impact on the initiation of sex, 22 (42 %) found that the programs significantly delayed the initiation of sex among one or more groups for at least six months, 29 (55%) found no significant impact, and one (in the United States) found the program hastened the initiation of sex.
  • Of the 54 studies measuring program impact on condom use, almost half (48%) showed increased condom use; none found decreased condom use.
  • Of the 13 studies that measured pregnancy rates, three found significant positive effects, nine found insignificant effects, and one (in the United States) found significant negative effects.
  • Of the 10 studies that measured impact on STI rates, two found a positive impact, six found no significant impact, and two found a negative impact.
  • Based on these finding the researchers identified 17 characteristics of effective programs.

 

To View this Resource: www.etr.org/recapp/documents/programs/SexHIVedProgs.pdf


Emerging Answers: Research Findings on Programs to Reduce Teen Pregnancy

Source:  Doug Kirby, Emerging Answers: Research Findings on Programs to Reduce Teen Pregnancy (Washington, DC: National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 2001). 

Description: The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy commissioned a review of programs considered effective at reducing teen pregnancy and/or STD rates among young people. Kirby gathered information on over 250 studies to identify the elements that made the programs effective.

Key Findings:

  • Research clearly shows that comprehensive education about sexuality does not hasten the onset of sex, increase the frequency of sex, or increase the number of sexual partners teens have.
  • Research shows that some sexuality and HIV education programs can delay the onset of sex, reduce the frequency of sex, or reduce the number of sexual partners.
  • Research on abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, however, remains inconclusive. This report identified several programs that had proven ability to delay sex or increase condom or other contraceptive use, thereby decreasing unprotected sex. Among these were:

    • Reducing the Risk
    • Safer Choices
    • Becoming a Responsible Teen
    • Making a Difference: An Abstinence Approach to STD, Teen Pregnancy, and HIV/AIDS Prevention
    • Making a Difference: A Safer Sex Approach to STD, Teen Pregnancy, and HIV/AIDS Prevention

 

To View this Resource: www.teenpregnancy.org/resources/data/pdf/emeranswsum.pdf


Science and Success: Sex Education and Other Programs That Work to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, HIV & Sexually Transmitted Infections

Source: S. Alford, et al., Science and Success: Sex Education and Other Programs That Work to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, HIV & Sexually Transmitted Infections, (Washington, DC: Advocates for Youth, 2003)

Description:  This paper compiles descriptions of the rigorously evaluated programs that have demonstrated effectiveness at reducing adolescents’ risk for pregnancy and STDs, including HIV. 

Key Findings:

  • 12 of the 19 programs included in this review showed a delay in the initiation of sex.
  • 17 of the 19 programs included in this review had beneficial effects on sexual behaviors among sexually experienced youth.
  • Eight of the 19 programs included in this review programs had a positive impact on incidence of STDs or on the number or rate of adolescent pregnancies.

 

To View this Resource: www.advocatesforyouth.org/programsthatwork/index.htm


Best-Evidence Interventions: Findings From a Systematic Review of HIV Behavioral Interventions for US Populations at High Risk, 2000–2004

Source:  C.M. Lyles, et. al., “Best-evidence interventions: Findings from a systematic review of HIV behavioral interventions for U.S. populations at high risk, 2000–2004,” American Journal of Public Health 97(1) (2006): 133-143.

Description: Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reviewed U.S.-based HIV-prevention research literature from 2000 through 2004 to identify interventions demonstrating best evidence of efficacy for reducing HIV risk. They found eighteen interventions that met the criteria for “best evidence.”

Key Findings:

  • Results of these interventions included increased condom use and reductions in unprotected sexual intercourse, number of sexual partners, injection drug use or needle sharing, and newly acquired sexually transmitted infections.
  • None of the “best evidence” programs were based on abstinence-only-until-marriage.

 

To View this Resource:  This article may be obtained online for a fee.  For more information:

  • See the American Journal of Public Health online at www.ajph.org, or
  • Contact your local librarian.

If you have difficulty finding this article, you may contact SIECUS at
www.siecus.org/feedback.html.


A Decade in Review: Building on the Experiences of Past Adolescent STI/HIV Interventions to Optimize Future Prevention Efforts

Source:  J.M. Sales, et. al., “A decade in review: Building on the experiences of past adolescent STI/HIV interventions to optimize future prevention efforts,” Sexually Transmitted Infections 82 (2006): 431-436.

Description:  Researchers reviewed findings from selected adolescent STD/HIV interventions in the United States between 1994 and 2004. They examined the most current STD risk reduction programs in a wide range of settings: communities, schools, clinics, detention homes, and drug treatment facilities. They then identified the features that were associated with effective programs.

Key Findings:

  • The risk behavior most susceptible to change was condom use during vaginal sex.
  • Researchers concluded that to be most effective at reducing risk, programs should educate teens on correct condom use and other behaviors that have been proven most likely to change.

 

To View this Resource: This article may be obtained online for a fee.  For more information:

If you have difficulty finding this article, you may contact SIECUS at siecus@siecus.org


SOURCES OF EFFECTIVE PROGRAMS

ReCAPP (ETR Associates): Evidence-Based Programs   

This web resource provides practical tools and information to effectively reduce sexual risk-taking behaviors. Health educators will find up-to-date, evaluated programming materials to help with their work with teens. A section on Evidence-Based Programs identifies curricula that have shown evidence of changing adolescent sexual risk-taking behavior.

To View this Resource:  See ETR's Resource Center for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (ReCAPP) at: www.etr.org/recapp


DEBIs: Diffusion of Effective Behavioral Interventions   

This project was designed to help community-based service providers as well as state and local health departments provide effective, science-based, HIV-prevention initiatives.  The website contains detailed information on interventions including:  Healthy Relationships, Holistic Health Recovery, MPowerment, Safety Counts, Street Smart, and many others. 

To View this Resource:  www.effectiveinterventions.org


PASHA: Program Archive on Sexuality, Health and Adolescence

This archive created by Sociometrics provides a collection of promising teen pregnancy and STD/HIV/AIDS prevention programs that have demonstrated effectiveness. Educators can obtain a package containing all of the materials needed for program implementation. In addition, it provides three evaluation resources that give program developers a starting point for re-evaluating the promising program.  

To View this Resource:  www.socio.com/pasha.htm


Compendium of HIV Prevention Interventions with Evidence of Effectiveness

This compendium was compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help educators locate effective HIV-prevention interventions for drug users, heterosexual adults, men who have sex with men, and youth.  The CDC determined rigorous evaluation requirements to ensure that only effective interventions would be included.  This document contains summaries of those interventions that met these criteria.

To View this Resource:  www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/reports/hiv_compendium


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