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Public Health Rep. 2001; 116(Suppl 1): 82–93.
PMCID: PMC1913682
Safer choices: reducing teen pregnancy, HIV, and STDs.
K. Coyle, K. Basen-Engquist, D. Kirby, G. Parcel, S. Banspach, J. Collins, E. Baumler, S. Carvajal, and R. Harrist
ETR Associates, Scotts Valley, California, USA.
K. Coyle: karinc/at/etr.org
Abstract
OBJECTIVES: This study evaluated the long-term effectiveness of Safer Choices, a theory-based, multi-component educational program designed to reduce sexual risk behaviors and increase protective behaviors in preventing HIV, other STDs, and pregnancy among high school students. METHODS: The study used a randomized controlled trial involving 20 high schools in California and Texas. A cohort of 3869 ninth-grade students was tracked for 31 months from fall semester 1993 (baseline) to spring semester 1996 (31-month follow-up). Data were collected using self-report surveys administered by trained data collectors. Response rate at 31-month follow-up was 79%. RESULTS: Safer Choices had its greatest effect on measures involving condom use. The program reduced the frequency of intercourse without a condom during the three months prior to the survey, reduced the number of sexual partners with whom students had intercourse without a condom, and increased use of condoms and other protection against pregnancy at last intercourse. Safer Choices also improved 7 of 13 psychosocial variables, many related to condom use, but did not have a significant effect upon rates of sexual initiation. CONCLUSIONS: The Safer Choices program was effective in reducing important risk behaviors for HIV, other STDs, and pregnancy and in enhancing most psychosocial determinants of such behavior.
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