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West and Central Africa (WCA) is the region of the world with the largest percentage of young people and the highest gender disparity in education.
Background: School-based sexual and reproductive health programmes are widely accepted as an approach to reducing high-risk sexual behaviour among adolescents. Many studies and systematic reviews have concentrated on measuring effects on knowledge or self-reported behaviour rather than biological outcomes, such as pregnancy or prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Objectives: To evaluate the effects of school-based sexual and reproductive health programmes on sexually transmitted infections (such as HIV, herpes simplex virus, and syphilis), and pregnancy among adolescents.
This systematic review looks at levels of STI awareness, knowledge and perceived risk of school-going adolescents in Europe. Fifteen studies were included, all of which cross-sectional and conducted among 13 to 20 year olds. Awareness and knowledge varied depending on gender. Awareness on HIV/AIDS was high (over 90%) but low for HPV (5.4%-66%). While knowledge that condoms protect against STIs was high, adolescents viewed it as an interim contraception method before using the pill. In this study, knowledge did not translate into safer sex behavior change. …