US Adolescents : Teen Pregnancy , Childbearing , Sexually Transmitted Infections
US adolescents have high rates of teen pregnancy, childbearing, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) ( Manlove, Fish & Moore, 2015). The key determinants of teen pregnancy and/or STIs include the timing and frequency of sexual activity, the number of sexual partners, and the consistent use of condoms and other effective methods of contraception ( Manlove, Fish & Moore, 2015). Therefore, programs that help teens delay the timing of first sex or increase condom use or other contraceptive use can help reduce high rates of teen pregnancy and STIs. In the US particularly, many people view sexual programs as major solution that can influence youths on sexual behaviors. Written curriculum that implemented among youth in the communities and schools focusing on sex, HIV/STDs and pregnancies can have a promising outcome in reducing risk sexual behaviors.
One program that has been evaluated is Be Proud! Be Responsible! This is a six-part evidence-based curriculum that provides adolescents with the knowledge, motivation, and skills necessary to change their behaviors in ways that will reduce their risk of pregnancy or contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (ReCAPP.org). In order to change youth behaviors, they need necessary skills to be able to act in responsible manner in addition to information and perception of individual vulnerability. This program is a curriculum that was initially designed for small group of 6-12 participants, however in recent year it has been used for large group of youths. The curriculum is designed as 50mins divided in 6 sessions which can be presented over one to six days. These are the six sessions according to ReCAPP websites, Introduction to HIV and AIDS, Building Knowledge About HIV and AIDS, Understanding Vulnerability to HIV Infection, Attitudes and Beliefs about HIV, AIDS, and Safer Sex, Condom Use Skill Building, Building Negotiation and Refusal Skills.
In addition, it is divided in three themes that has proven to be effective in many communities including urban environments. The Inner-City and Sense-of-Community Approach which emphasis HIV/STDs has affected every environment regardless. The Role of Sexual Responsibility and Accountability meaning adolescent have to be responsible and accountable for their behaviors. and lastly The Role of Pride in Making Safer Sexual Choices (ReCAPP.org).
The 5-hour project was implemented with participants being a group of 157 African American males from inner from age 12-19 with a mean age 14.6 years. The curriculum was done in a small group of 6-8 youth that was led by an adult educator. The project was done to stress the behavior change in the prevention of HIV/AIDS, intentions on engaging in risky behaviors, the attitudes on risk sexual behaviors, AIDs and STDs knowledge. After the three months of the project, the participants reported they had engaged less in risky behaviors than the student who were in the control group. The finding also indicated the program had reduced the incidences that can leads to teen pregnancies. In addition, they had fewer cases of sex with fewer women and for those who were actively engaging sexual behaviors had used condoms consistently. Furthermore, those student score more on test HIV/AIDs knowledge and expressed less intentions and weak attitudes towards engaging in risky sexual behaviors.
The project focused only on sexual behaviors that can put youths at risk of HIV infection. However, among the participants did not report other risk such as behaviors associate with homosexual or bisexual, needle sharing or intravenous drug that can increase the risk of HIV infection. Future recommendation was to continue research on strategies that can change the behaviors that put one at risk of HIV on diverse population. The implication of the project was to find ways and continue to do more with intentions of curbing the spread of HIV/STDs.