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JOURNAL OF ADOLESCENT RESEARCH. 1997 Oct; 12(4):421-53.Sexuality education for children and young adults is one of the most heavily debated issues facing policy-makers, national AIDS program planners, and educators, provoking arguments over how explicit education materials should be, how much of it there should be, how often it should be given, and at what age instruction should commence. In this context, the World Health Organization's Global Program on AIDS' Office of Intervention Development and Support commissioned a comprehensive literature review to assess the effects of HIV/AIDS and sexuality education upon young people's sexual behavior. 52 reports culled from a search of 12 literature databases were reviewed. The main purpose of the review is to inform policy-makers, program planners, and educators about the impact of HIV and/or sexuality education upon the sexual behavior of youth as described in the published literature. Of 47 studies which evaluated interventions, 25 reported that HIV/AIDS and sexuality education neither increased nor decreased sexual activity and attendant rates of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). 17 reported that HIV and/or sexuality education delayed the onset of sexual activity, reduced the number of sex partners, or reduced unplanned pregnancy and STD rates Only 3 studies found increases in sexual behavior associated with sexuality education. Inadequacies in study design, analytic techniques, outcome indicators, and the reporting of statistics are discussed.