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    Sexual health education does lead to safer sexual behaviour. UNAIDS review. Press release.

    Joint United Nations Programme on HIV / AIDS [UNAIDS]

    Geneva, Switzerland, UNAIDS, 1997 Oct 22. 3 p. (UNAIDS Presse Release)

    A review commissioned by the Joint UN Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) found that sexual health education for children and youth promotes safer sexual behavior and does not increase their sexual activity. Examined were 68 reports on sexual health and HIV/AIDS prevention education from France, Mexico, Switzerland, several Nordic countries, the UK, and the US. In most cases, studies compared indicators such as adolescent pregnancy rates, sexually transmitted disease (STD) infection rates, and self-reported sexual activity in youth who were exposed to educational interventions and those who were not. Only three studies (all of which had serious methodological problems) found an association between sexual health education and increased sexual interaction. 22 studies reported that HIV and/or sexual health education either delayed the age at onset of sexual activity, reduced the number of sexual partners, or reduced unplanned pregnancy and STD rates. Characteristics of programs that succeeded in not only increasing knowledge but also producing behavioral change included the following: a focused curriculum with clear statements about behavioral aims, clear delineation of the risks of unprotected sex and methods to avoid them, attention to social and media influences on sexual behavior, practice in sexual communication and negotiation skills, encouragement of openness about sex, and a grounding in theories emphasizing the social nature of learning.
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