To provide an updated review of the efficacy of behavioral interventions to reduce sexual risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among adolescents.
We searched electronic databases, leading public health journals, and the document depository held by the Synthesis of HIV/AIDS Risk Reduction Project. Studies that fulfilled the selection criteria and were available as of December 31, 2008, were included.
Studies that investigated any behavioral intervention advocating sexual risk reduction for HIV prevention, sampled adolescents (age range, 11-19 years), measured a behavioral outcome relevant to sexual risk, and provided sufficient information to calculate effect sizes.
Data from 98 interventions (51 240 participants) were derived from 67 studies, dividing for qualitatively different interventions and gender when reports permitted it.
Main Outcome Measures
Condom use, sexual frequency, condom use skills, interpersonal communication skills, condom acquisition, and incident sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Relative to controls, interventions succeeded at reducing incident STIs, increasing condom use, reducing or delaying penetrative sex, and increasing skills to negotiate safer sex and to acquire prophylactic protection. Initial risk reduction varied depending on sample and intervention characteristics but did not decay over time.
Comprehensive behavioral interventions reduce risky sexual behavior and prevent transmission of STIs. Interventions are most successful to the extent that they deliver intensive content.