This paper presents results from a randomized controlled trial that assessed the short- and longer-term impact of a skills-based HIV/STI/pregnancy prevention curriculum, service learning, and the combination.
The study featured a four-arm experimental design involving 47 classrooms (765 youth) from continuation high schools. Classrooms were randomly assigned to one of four conditions: (1) HIV/STI/pregnancy prevention curriculum only; (2) service learning only; (3) HIV/STI/pregnancy prevention curriculum plus service learning; or (4) an attention control curriculum. Students completed 3 surveys over 18 months. Multi-level analysis was used to adjust for the correlation among students within the same classroom and school, and the correlation of repeated measurements.
Participants were 53% male (mean age: 16.2 years). The majority of youth reported being Hispanic/Latino or African-American (37.9% and 22.3%, respectively). Students in the HIV/STI/pregnancy prevention curriculum condition were less likely to have vaginal intercourse without a condom in the 3 months prior to the survey [odds ratio (OR) = .58, p = .04]; these effects diminished by final follow-up. The program also significantly reduced students' exposure to risky situations. These changes were not significant in the service learning only or combined intervention conditions relative to control.
This study is one of a few controlled studies of HIV/STI and pregnancy prevention programs in continuation settings, and suggests the curriculum was effective in changing selected risk behaviors in the short term.