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SAFER SEX INTERVENTION is a clinic-based individualized intervention designed to reduce sexual risk behaviors and prevent the recurrence of sexually transmitted infection (STI) among young women ages 13 to 23 diagnosed with an STI. Safer Sex Intervention was designed to be delivered at the time of STI diagnosis and/or treatment, when the young woman is most likely to be contemplating her sexual risk behaviors. The intervention is administered one-on-one and face-to-face by a female health educator in a single 30- to 50-minute session. The session follows one of two intervention guides, selected on the basis of the young woman’s discussion with the educator and her self-identified stage of behavior change.

Original study

The original study was a randomized controlled trial of the intervention compared to standard care, designed to determine the effect of the Safer Sex Intervention on condom use and recurrent STD among female adolescents diagnosed as having an STD. One hundred twenty-three patients ages 13 to 23 with cervicitis or pelvic inflammatory disease were enrolled from an outpatient adolescent clinic or inpatient adolescent service of an urban children’s hospital.

Compared to control participants, young women receiving the Safer Sex Intervention had increased sexual risk knowledge and more positive attitudes toward condoms and tended to report using condoms more with a non-main partner at one month, lower likelihood of sex with a non-main partner at six months, and a tendency toward lower likelihood of having a current main partner and of having recurrent STD at 12 months.

The article describing the study, published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine in 2001, is available here.

Planning a replication

The intervention materials are available for purchase from Sociometrics, and an adaptation kit is available for free from ETR Associates. Dr. Shrier is also available for consultation. Please see below for more information.

DESCRIPTION: As part of the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, the Federal Office of Adolescent Health awarded almost $6.5 million to six sites across the U.S. to replicate the Safer Sex Intervention. A program description and overview from the Office of Adolescent Health's Pregnancy Prevention Intervention Implementation Report is available here.

PROGRAM MATERIALS: The Program Archive on Sexuality, Health, and Adolescence (PASHA) has assembled all of the materials needed to implement and evaluate the Safer Sex Intervention. These materials are available for purchase from Sociometrics' Program Archive on Sexuality, Health, and Adolescence:

ADAPTATION KIT: A Safer Sex Intervention adaptation kit is available for free electronically from ETR Associates. The adaptation kit was created to give healthcare practitioners the resources and tools they need to guide them in creating effective adaptations of the Safer Sex Intervention program. The kit details the intervention’s core components and helps ensure that adaptations are safely and accurately implemented. Read the Safer Sex Intervention Adaptation Kit here.

CONSULTANCY: As developer of the Safer Sex Intervention, Dr. Shrier is uniquely suited to providing consultation regarding the intent, content, and design of the replication intervention, as well as its fidelity to the original intervention. Click here for more information about consulting with Dr. Shrier.

About Lydia A. Shrier

Lydia A. Shrier, MD, MPH, is Associate in Medicine with the Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine of Boston Children's Hospital and Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She completed a fellowship in Adolescent Medicine at Boston Children's Hospital and received a Master's of Public Health degree in Maternal-Child Health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Shrier has been funded by a number of sources, including the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, to conduct research on mental health and risk behavior in adolescents. Her research uses mobile technology to collect data from youth several times a day in their natural environments. Learn about Dr. Shrier's research.