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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health