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UNESCO HIV and Health Education Clearinghouse

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  1. Rethinking sexual agency: proposing a multicomponent model based on young people’s life stories

    Sexual health policies explicitly aim to encourage young people to take responsibility for their sexuality to prevent adverse outcomes such as unintended pregnancies, STIs and sexual assault. In Europe and North America, ‘choice’ has become a central concept in sexual and reproductive health policy making. However, the concept of choice is not unproblematic, not least because the cultural emphasis on individual responsibility obscures structural limitations and inequalities, and mutual responsibility between partners. …

  2. Education, HIV, and early fertility: experimental evidence from Kenya

    A seven-year randomized evaluation suggests education subsidies reduce adolescent girls’ dropout, pregnancy, and marriage but not sexually transmitted infection (STI). The government’s HIV curriculum, which stresses abstinence until marriage, does not reduce pregnancy or STI. Both programs combined reduce STI more, but cut dropout and pregnancy less, than education subsidies alone. …

  3. A farewell to abstinence and fidelity? Comment

    Sex has regularly proven to be a polarising issue for the UN Member States, and the 2016 High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS on June 8–10 was no exception. The Political Declaration adopted at the meeting addresses the sexual health needs of young people (15–24 years), including adolescents (11–19 years). 2000 new HIV infections occur among young people every day. HIV is the leading cause of death among adolescents in Africa, and the second-highest cause of death worldwide in this age group. …

  4. Invited commentary: Broadening the evidence for adolescent sexual and reproductive health and education in the United States

    Scientific research has made major contributions to adolescent health by providing insights into factors that influence it and by defining ways to improve it. However, US adolescent sexual and reproductive health policies-particularly sexuality health education policies and programs-have not benefited from the full scope of scientific understanding. From 1998 to 2009, federal funding for sexuality education focused almost exclusively on ineffective and scientifically inaccurate abstinence-only-until-marriage (AOUM) programs. …

  5. Perception of students’ teachers’ and parents’ towards sexuality education in Calabar south local government area of Cross River State, Nigeria

    This study was aimed at assessing the perception of students, teachers and perception in Calabar south local government area of Cross River State, Nigeria. A cross sectional survey was employed and a structured questionnaire was used to generate both qualitative and quantitative data from 850 respondents using the multi-stage stratified sampling technique. Most students were within the age bracket of 13-18 476 (95.2%), teachers were mostly within 25-29 years 54 (27.0%) and parents were mostly 40-44 years of age 22 (22.0%). …

  6. Youth in a void: sexuality, HIV/AIDS and communication in Kenyan public schools

    The disappearance of traditional sex education during rites of passage in African societies has left many youth uncertain of where to look for information. Against this backcloth, the objectives of this study were to identify knowledge gaps amongst adolescents in Kenya regarding sexuality, HIV/AIDS and reproductive health. A thematic analysis was conducted of questions posed by 735 school youth aged 12–18 years from Meru and Kajiado Districts. Results show that many questions showed curiosity and anxiousness. …

  7. Efficacy of a theory-based abstinence-only intervention over 24 months: A randomized controlled trial with young adolescents

    Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of an abstinence-only intervention in preventing sexual involvement in young adolescents. Design:Randomized controlled trial. Setting: Urban public schools. Participants:A total of 662 African American students in grades 6 and 7. …

  8. Consequences of sex education on teen and young adult sexual behaviors and outcomes

    This study examined whether formal sex education is associated with sexual health behaviors and outcomes using recent nationally representative survey data. Data used were from 4,691 male and female individuals aged 15–24 years from the 2006–2008 National Survey of Family Growth. Receipt of sex education, regardless of type, was associated with delays in first sex for both genders, as compared with receiving no sex education. …

  9. Community-level successes and challenges to implementing adolescent sex education programs

    Best practices for adolescent sex education recommend science-based approaches. However, little is known about the capacity and needs of organizations who implement sex education programs on the local level. The purpose of this research was to describe successes and challenges of community organizations in implementing science-based sex education. Using qualitative methods, we interviewed program directors and educators in 17 state funded adolescent pregnancy prevention/sex education programs as part of a larger mixed methods evaluation. …

  10. The ABC's of HIV prevention: education in Uganda and Côte d'Ivoire

    Abstince-only education programs in the United States have been controversial since their inception in 1981 because of their lack of efficacy and because of the sexualities and behaviors that they promulgate. Barack Obama's 2010 budget eliminates federal funding for abstinence-only education programs in the US; however, the outline of his five-year strategy for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) does not indicate whether the US government will continue to mandate abstinence-only education in so-called "focus countries", primarily in sub-Saharan Africa. …

  11. The impact of abstinence and comprehensive sex and STD/HIV education programs on adolescent sexual behavior

    In an effort to reduce unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease (STD) in adolescents, both abstinence and comprehensive sex and STD/HIV education programs have been proffered. Based on specified criteria, the author searched for and reviewed 56 studies that assessed the impact of such curricula (8 that evaluated 9 abstinence programs and 48 that evaluated comprehensive programs) on adolescents’ sexual behavior. Study results indicated that most abstinence programs did not delay initiation of sex and only 3 of 9 had any significant positive effects on any sexual behavior. …

  12. The Case for a New Approach to Sex Education Mounts; Will Policymakers Heed the Message?

    Abstinence-only-until-marriage education is a key component of social conservatives' global moral and religious agenda, and the cornerstone of the Bush administration's approach to reducing U.S. teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates. …

  13. Do teenagers respond to HIV risk information? Evidence from a field experiment in Kenya

    We use a randomized experiment to test whether and what information changes teenagers' sexual behavior in Kenya. Providing information on the relative risk of HIV infection by partner's age led to a 28 percent decrease in teen pregnancy, an objective proxy for the incidence of unprotected sex. Self-reported sexual behavior data suggests substitution away from older (riskier) partners and toward same-age partners. In contrast, the official abstinence-only HIV curriculum had no impact on teen pregnancy. …

  14. School-Based Sexuality Education: The Issues and Challenges

    This article discusses the controversy and challenges that surrounded providing sex education in the U.S., including the Franklin Country (North Carolina) school board ordering the removal of textbook chapters dealing with sexual behavior, contraception, HIV/AIDs, and STIs from 9th graders health textbooks, and the state requirement to promote abstinence until marriage. It discusses the abstinence only movement and reviews efforts to undermine sexuality education dating back to the 1960s, while also providing the teachers' perspectives and difficulties faced. …

  15. Increased sexual abstinence among in-school adolescents as a result of school health education in Soroti district, Uganda

    A health education program conducted in primary schools in Soroti district, Uganda promoted increased access to information, better peer interactions and better quality of the health education system. A cross-sectional survey was conducted among students in their final year of primary school (average age 14 years) at baseline and two years after introduction of the intervention. The percentage of sexually active students decreased from 42.9% (123 out of 287) to 11.1% (31 out of 280) in the intervention arm, while no changes were observed in the control arm. …

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