The Case for Addressing Gender and Power in Sexuality and HIV Education: A Comprehensive Review of Evaluation Studies

July 2015 - Structural Prevention

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Haberland, N.A. International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health (March 2015), Vol. 41, Issue 1, pp. 31–42, doi: 10.1363/4103115.

The author reviewed 22 studies on sexuality and HIV education interventions to explore whether including content on gender and power affects programmatic efficacy; and how effective curriculum-based programs have addressed gender and power. Of the 10 studies that included gender and power content, 80 percent led to significant decreases in at least one of the health outcomes examined (pregnancy, childbearing, or sexually transmitted infections [STIs]). Among the 12 programs that did not address gender and power, by contrast, only two (17 percent) recorded significantly reduced rates of pregnancy or STIs. Additionally, in the 17 studies that included a post-intervention follow-up of one year or longer, 78 percent demonstrated reduced adverse health outcomes, compared to 25 percent of interventions with no follow-up. Clinic-based programs were far more likely to reduce adverse health outcomes than programs implemented in other settings (such as school-based programs).The author noted some common characteristics among all programs, including interactive and learner-centered approaches that focused on gender and power in relationships; fostered critical thinking about how gender norms or power manifest and operate; and promoted valuing oneself and recognizing one’s own power. The author concluded that discussion of gender and power should be considered a key characteristic of effective sexuality and HIV education programs.

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