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A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials of School Based Interventions on Sexual Risk Behaviors and Sexually Transmitted Infections among Young Adolescents in Sub-Saharan Africa

Citation

Shangase, Nosipho; Kharsany, Ayesha B. M.; Ntombela, Nonzwakazi P.; Pettifor, Audrey E.; & McKinnon, Lyle R. (Online ahead of print). A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials of School Based Interventions on Sexual Risk Behaviors and Sexually Transmitted Infections among Young Adolescents in Sub-Saharan Africa. AIDS and Behavior.

Abstract

Young adolescents in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are at high risk of involvement in sexual risk behaviors; and curable sexually transmitted infections (STI), herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and unintended pregnancies remain persistently high in this population. Evidence based strategies are urgently needed to improve these outcomes. The aim of this systematic review was to synthesize the evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCT) to determine whether school-based interventions promote safe sex behaviors, reduce sexual risk behaviors and risk of curable STIs, HSV-2, HIV and unintended pregnancies among young adolescents aged 9-19 years in SSA. Electronic databases were searched for published studies and manual searches were conducted through reviewing of references of cited literature in the English language up to December 2019. Two independent reviewers screened and abstracted the data. We identified 428 articles and data from nine RCTs (N = 14,426 secondary school students) that fulfilled the selection criteria were analysed. Two studies measured pregnancy as an outcome and showed significant declines in unintended pregnancies. Of the five studies that measured HIV/AIDS related-knowledge, condom-use outcomes (normative beliefs, knowledge, and self-efficacy) and attitudes to HIV testing, four showed significant improvements. Of the six studies that measured sexual debut, four reported moderate but non-significant declines and in two studies sexual debut information was either incomplete or unreliable. One study measured curable STIs and found no significant declines; whilst the second study that measured HSV-2 and HIV, no significant declines were observed. This review highlights the need to undertake well-designed research studies to provide evidence on the impact of interventions on curable STIs, HSV-2 and HIV, critical to improving the health of young adolescents.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10461-021-03242-8

Reference Type

Journal Article

Article Type

Regular

Year Published

Online ahead of print

Journal Title

AIDS and Behavior

Author(s)

Shangase, Nosipho
Kharsany, Ayesha B. M.
Ntombela, Nonzwakazi P.
Pettifor, Audrey E.
McKinnon, Lyle R.

Data Set/Study

Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews (PRISMA)

Continent/Country

Sub-Saharan Africa