Runaway youth are 6–12 times more likely to become infected with HIV than other youth. Using a quasi-experimental design, the efficacy of an HIV prevention program was evaluated over 2 years among 2 groups of runaways: (1) those at 2 shelters who received Street Smart, an intensive HIV intervention program, and (2) youth at 2 control shelters. Street Smart provided youth with access to health care and condoms and delivered a 10-session skill-focused prevention program based on social learning theory to youth. Prior to analysis of the intervention's outcomes, propensity scores were used to identify comparable subgroups of youth in the intervention (n = 101) and control conditions (n = 86). Compared to females in the control condition, females in the intervention condition significantly reduced their unprotected sexual acts at 2 years and alcohol use, marijuana use, and the number of drugs used over 12 months. Male adolescents in the intervention condition showed significant reductions in marijuana use over 6 months compared to control youth. Adolescent HIV prevention programs must proactively identify mechanisms for maintaining behavior change over the long-term, and innovative research designs are needed to allow examination of agency-level interventions.
Prevention Science – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 28, 2004
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