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Original Investigation
April 20, 2020

Association of Sexual Health Interventions With Sexual Health Outcomes in Black Adolescents: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh
JAMA Pediatr. 2020;174(7):676-689. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.0382
Key Points

Question  Are sexual health interventions associated with improved sexual health outcomes in black adolescents?

Findings  In this systematic review and meta-analysis synthesizing results of 29 studies of 11 918 black adolescents, sexual health interventions were significantly associated with improved abstinence, condom use, sexual health intentions, sexual health knowledge, and sexual health self-efficacy compared with control conditions.

Meaning  The findings suggest that sexual health interventions are associated with improved sexual well-being among black adolescents.

Abstract

Importance  Black adolescents are at increased risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and experiencing unplanned pregnancy. Although sexual health interventions aimed at decreasing these risks exist, evidence of the association between sexual health interventions and the sexual behavior of black adolescents has not been synthesized to our knowledge.

Objective  To examine the associations between sexual health interventions and behavioral, biological, and psychological outcomes.

Data Sources  For this systematic review and meta-analysis, a systematic search was conducted of studies published through January 31, 2019, using the PubMed, PsycINFO, and CINAHL databases and relevant review articles. The following key words were used: youth, adolesc* or teen*; sexual health or safe* sex or sexually transmitted disease or sexually transmitted infection or STD or STI or HIV or AIDS or pregnancy or reproductive health or condom* or contracept* or unprotected sex or abstinence; intervention or program or education or prevention or promotion or trial; latino* or latina* or latinx* or minorit* or ethnic* or hispanic or african american* or black* or race or racial or biracial.

Study Selection  Studies were included if they included a US-based sample of black adolescents, evaluated a sexual health intervention using experimental or quasi-experimental designs, included a behavioral outcome, and were published in English.

Data Extraction and Synthesis  Standardized mean differences and 95% CIs were extracted and meta-analyzed using random-effects models.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Behavioral outcomes were abstinence, condom use, and number of sex partners. Biological outcomes were pregnancy and STI contraction. Psychological outcomes were sexual health intentions, knowledge, and self-efficacy.

Results  Across 29 studies including 11 918 black adolescents (weighted mean age, 12.43 years), there was a significant weighted mean association of sexual health interventions with improvements in abstinence (Cohen d = 0.14; 95% CI, 0.05-0.24) and condom use (Cohen d = 0.25; 95% CI, 0.11-0.39). No significant mean association of these interventions with number of sex partners, pregnancy, or STI contraction was found. Sexual health interventions were significantly associated with improvements in psychological outcomes: sexual health intentions (Cohen d = 0.17; 95% CI, 0.05-0.30), knowledge (Cohen d = 0.46; 95% CI, 0.30-0.63), and self-efficacy (Cohen d = 0.19; 95% CI, 0.09-0.28). Intervention effect sizes were consistent across factors, such as participant sex and age and intervention dose.

Conclusions and Relevance  The findings suggest that sexual health interventions are associated with improvements in sexual well-being among black adolescents. There appears to be a need for wide-scale dissemination of these programs to address racial disparities in sexual health across the US.

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