At the 2023 ACOG Annual Clinical & Scientific Meeting, a study on how youth-led intervention to increase sexual health literacy can empower adolescents.
At the ACOG annual conference in Baltimore, Maryland this May, Saumya Sao, BS, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland; Jenell Coleman, MD, associate professor of gynecology and obstetrics, Johns Hopkins Medicine; Lillee Izadi, BS, research coordinator, Johns Hopkins Medicine; and Ruoxi Yu, BS, Johns Hopkins Medicine, presented their findings on adolescent knowledge of sexual and reproductive health in their study, “Evaluation of a youth-led intervention to improve adolescent sexual and reproductive health knowledge, efficacy and autonomy.”
As the investigators noted in their introduction, “Youth bear a disproportionate burden of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancy. Knowledge about sexual and reproductive health (SRH) is low among this population…we sought to develop and assess a youth-led intervention to increase youth SRH knowledge, self-efficacy, and autonomy.”
To obtain results, researchers held 9 interactive, youth-led, 2-hour sessions, both live and virtual, over the course of 9 months. Topics included a wide range of sexual health issues, including STIs, contraception, reproductive anatomy, sexual violence, and sexual decision-making, among other topics.
A total of 37 participants who lived in the greater Baltimore area, with a mean age of 15.8 years, were enrolled in the sessions. The majority of participants identified as female; 52% were Black/African American; 28% Asian/Asian-American; 12% white; and 8% Hispanic/Latino. Assessments focused on sexual and reproductive health knowledge, self-efficacy, and autonomy and were graded using validated scales via an electronic questionnaire before and after implementing intervention.
At the end of the sessions, participants showed improvement in SRH knowledge (P = .02), advocacy and self-efficacy (P < .001), and personal safety and autonomy (P < .01). The participants also reported increased comfort using trusted sites to procure SRH information (P < .01).
Researchers concluded that youth-led SRH intervention effectively increased SRH knowledge, self-efficacy, and autonomy, and suggested that more research be done to explore the effect of peer-to-peer SRH education.
Sao S, Coleman J, Izadi L, Wang R, Yu R. Evaluation of a youth-led intervention to improve adolescent sexual and reproductive health knowledge, efficacy and autonomy. 2023 ACOG Annual Clinical & Scientific Meeting. May 19-21. Baltimore, Maryland.