To determine the longer-term effect (mean ± SD, 41.2 ± 15.3 weeks; range, 14.1-80.5 weeks) of a middle school (MS)– and high school (HS)–based human immunodeficiency virus and sexuality intervention (Rochester AIDS Prevention Project for Youth [RAPP]) on knowledge, self-efficacy, behavior intention, and behaviors.
Quasi-experimental design with 3 intervention groups and 1 control group.
Urban, predominantly ethnic, minority MS and HS health classes.
Middle school and HS students (N = 4001) enrolled in health classes in 10 schools. Fifty percent were African American; 16%, Hispanic; 20%, white; and 14%, other. Less than 10% of the students refused participation.
There were 4 study conditions: (1) control, usual health education curriculum taught by a classroom teacher; (2) RAPP adult health educator, intervention curriculum implemented by highly trained health educators; (3) RAPP peer educator, intervention implemented by extensively trained HS students; and (4) a comparison of the RAPP intervention curriculum taught by regular health teachers, implemented with MS students only.
Main Outcome Measure
A confidential questionnaire was administered to all study subjects before and at long-term follow-up after the intervention, containing scales to measure knowledge, self-efficacy, behavior intention, and behaviors, including onset of sexual intercourse experience and engagement in risky sexual behaviors.
Rates of baseline sexual activity in the sample were comparable to those found in other urban school-based surveys. Long-term knowledge (MS females, P<.001; and MS males, P<.01) and sexual self-efficacy (MS females, P<.05; and HS females, P<.01) scores were higher among the intervention groups (male and female are used in this study to describe those aged 9½-23 years). Intention to remain safe regarding sexual behavior was also greater among intervention groups in MS but not HS. However, subjects who were already sexually active at pretest were less likely to show a positive intervention effect. An intervention effect for the onset of intercourse and risky sexual behavior was found most significantly among MS females.
A positive long-term effect from the RAPP intervention was observed, particularly for youth who were involved in less risk (eg, not yet sexually active) at study enrollment. Thus, we propose that the most appropriate time for intervention implementation is earlier in adolescence, before the onset of risky behaviors.