Long term effects of community-based STI screening and mass media HIV prevention messages on sexual risk behaviors of African American adolescents

Sharon Sznitman, Bonita F. Stanton, Peter A. Vanable, Michael P. Carey, Robert F. Valois, Larry K. Brown, Ralph DiClemente, Michael Hennessy, Laura F. Salazar, Daniel Romer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined the long-term effects of two interventions designed to reduce sexual risk behavior among African American adolescents. African American adolescents (N = 1383, ages 14-17) were recruited from community-based organizations over a period of 16 months in two northeastern and two southeastern midsized U.S. cities with high rates of sexually transmitted infection (STI). Participants were screened for three STIs (gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis) and completed an audio computer-assisted attitude, intention, and behavior self-interview. Youth who tested positive for an STI (8.3%) received treatment and risk reduction counseling. In addition, television and radio HIV-prevention messages were delivered during the recruitment period and 18 months of follow-up in one randomly selected city in each region. Analyses determined effects of the media program for those receiving a positive versus negative STI test result on number of sexual partners and occurrence of unprotected sex. Adolescents who tested STI-positive reduced their number of vaginal sex partners and the probability of unprotected sex over the first 6 months. However, in the absence of the mass media program, adolescents returned to their previously high levels of sexual risk behavior after 6 months. Adolescents who tested STI-positive and received the mass media program showed more stable reductions in unprotected sex. Community- based STI treatment and counseling can achieve significant, but short-lived reductions in sexual risk behavior among STI-positive youth. A culturally sensitive mass media program has the potential to achieve more stable reductions in sexual risk behavior and can help to optimize the effects of community-based STI screening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1755-1763
Number of pages9
JournalAIDS and Behavior
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • African American adolescent
  • Community-based STI screening
  • Mass media interventions
  • STI/HIV prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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