HIV prevention in Mexican schools: prospective randomised evaluation of intervention

Division of Reproductive Health, National Institute of Public Health, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico.
BMJ (online) (Impact Factor: 16.38). 06/2006; 332(7551):1189-94. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.38796.457407.80
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To assess effects on condom use and other sexual behaviour of an HIV prevention programme at school that promotes the use of condoms with and without emergency contraception.
Cluster randomised controlled trial.
40 public high schools in the state of Morelos, Mexico.
10 954 first year high school students.
Schools were randomised to one of three arms: an HIV prevention course that promoted condom use, the same course with emergency contraception as back-up, or the existing sex education course. Self administered anonymous questionnaires were completed at baseline, four months, and 16 months. Students at intervention schools received a 30 hour course (over 15 weeks) on HIV prevention and life skills, designed in accordance with guidelines of the joint United Nations programme on HIV/AIDS. Two extra hours of education on emergency contraception were given to students in the condom promotion with contraception arm.
Primary outcome measure was reported condom use. Other outcomes were reported sexual activity; knowledge and attitudes about HIV and emergency contraception; and attitudes and confidence about condom use.
Intervention did not affect reported condom use. Knowledge of HIV improved in both intervention arms and knowledge of emergency contraception improved in the condom promotion with contraception arm. Reported sexual behaviour was similar in the intervention arms and the control group.
A rigorously designed, implemented, and evaluated HIV education course based in public high schools did not reduce risk behaviour, so such courses need to be redesigned and evaluated. Addition of emergency contraception did not decrease reported condom use or increase risky sexual behaviour but did increase reported use of emergency contraception.

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