A Randomized Controlled Trial to Increase HIV Preventive Information, Motivation, and Behavioral Skills in Ugandan Adolescents

July 2015 - Structural Prevention

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Ybarra, M.L., Korchmaros, J.D., Prescott, T.L., et al. Annals of Behavioral Medicine (June 2015), Vol. 49, Issue 3, pp. 473–485, doi: 10.1007/s12160-014-9673-0.

This study focused on the impact of an Internet-based HIV prevention program, CyberSenga, on information, motivation, and behavioral skills among adolescents. The participants (366 sexually experienced and inexperienced youth aged 13 years and older) were randomly assigned to either the five-week CyberSenga (intervention group),covering topics such as how HIV is contracted, how to reduce HIV risk, motivation to have sex or abstain, and condom use skills, or the treatment-as-usual (control) group receiving the sexual health education offered at their schools. Half of the intervention participants were further randomized to a booster session. Follow-up data were collected at three and six months post-intervention. The authors reported that at six months post-baseline, the control group correctly answered 72.4 percent of HIV prevention-related questions; the intervention-only and intervention+booster groups correctly answered 77.6 percent and 82.8 percent of questions, respectively. Intentions to be abstinent did not change over time for any of the groups. However, at the six-month follow-up, intentions to use condoms became stronger, with the intervention+booster group showing the strongest intentions to use condoms, followed by the intervention-only group. The authors concluded that as the Internet becomes more affordable, and therefore more widely accessible, programs such as CyberSenga have the potential for wide dissemination to reach a greater number of young people.

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