Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Limited long-term effects of school based sexual health education

Date:
June 8, 2010
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
An intensive sexual health education program in schools had only a small effect on reported sexual behaviors among African adolescents and no effect on the prevalence of HIV and genital herpes 9 years after the start of the intervention.

An intensive sexual health education programme in schools had only a small effect on reported sexual behaviors among African adolescents and no effect on the prevalence of HIV and genital herpes (HSV2) 9 years after the start of the intervention. This was despite evidence of some long-term effects on sexual and reproductive health knowledge.

These new long term findings are published in this week's PLoS Medicine and raise questions about the effectiveness of school-based sexual health education.

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), the Tanzanian National Institute for Medical Research's Mwanza Research Centre (NIMR Mwanza) and AMREF Tanzania studied the impact of the MEMA kwa Vijana ("Good things for young people") program in rural Tanzania, which included in-school sexual and reproductive health (SRH) education for pupils in their last three years of primary education (12-15+-year olds). The program was designed to provide the students with the knowledge and skills needed to delay sexual debut and to reduce sexual risk taking. Between 1999 and 2008, the program was trialed in 10 randomly chosen rural communities in the Mwanza Region of Tanzania; 10 similar communities that did not receive the intervention acted as controls. A survey in 2002 showed that the interventions had a substantial impact on SRH knowledge, reported attitudes, and on some reported sexual risk beh aviors, but no consistent significant impacts on pregnancies or sexually transmitted infections.

Aoife Doyle, David Ross, and colleagues report in PLoS Medicine their follow up study that investigated the long-term impact of the MEMA kwa Vijana intervention on HIV and HSV2 prevalence and asked whether the improvement in knowledge and attitudes seen at the 3-year follow up has persisted. In 2007/2008, they surveyed nearly 14,000 young people who had attended the trial schools between 1999 and 2002, determining their HIV and HSV2 status and their knowledge and attitudes about sexually transmitted infections, HIV and pregnancy. 1.8% of the male and 4.0% of the female participants were HIV positive; 25.9% and 41.4% of the male and female participants, respectively, were HSV2 positive, report the authors. These prevalences were similar in the young people who had received the interventions and in those who had not, indicating that the intervention had not reduced the risk of HIV or HSV2. However, the researchers did find an associatio n between the intervention and a reduction in the proportion of young men who reported having more than four sexual partners in their lifetime, and increased reported condom use at last sex with a non-regular partner among young women. In addition, although the intervention consistently increased SRH knowledge, it was found to have no impact on the students' reported attitudes to sexual risk, reported pregnancies, or other reported sexual behaviors.

On the basis of their long-term follow up study, the authors conclude that such youth interventions may be more effective if they are integrated "within intensive, community-wide risk reduction programmes."

In an accompanying Perspective article, Dr. Rachel Jewkes from the Medical Research Council in South Africa (uninvolved in the study) writes that the long term research results are disappointing. She highlights the importance of developing other interventions, especially those that are participatory, emphasise critical reflection and communication skills, and focus on gender.

Funding: UK Department for International Development, Irish Aid, European Commission, UK Medical Research Council, UNAID.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Aoife M. Doyle, David A. Ross, Kaballa Maganja, Kathy Baisley, Clemens Masesa, Aura Andreasen, Mary L. Plummer, Angela I. N. Obasi, Helen A. Weiss, Saidi Kapiga, Deborah Watson-Jones, John Changalucha, Richard J. Hayes, Phillipa J. Hay. Long-Term Biological and Behavioural Impact of an Adolescent Sexual Health Intervention in Tanzania: Follow-up Survey of the Community-Based MEMA kwa Vijana Trial. PLoS Medicine, 2010; 7 (6): e1000287 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000287
  2. Rachel Jewkes. Where to for Sexual Health Education for Adolescents in Sub-Saharan Africa? PLoS Medicine, 2010; 7 (6): e1000288 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000288

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Limited long-term effects of school based sexual health education." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100608182638.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2010, June 8). Limited long-term effects of school based sexual health education. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100608182638.htm
Public Library of Science. "Limited long-term effects of school based sexual health education." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100608182638.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, cut full-year revenue forecasts because generics could cut into sales of its anti-arthritis drug, Celebrex. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins