Newswise — Boys aged between 12-14 years old showed improved knowledge and attitudes about sexual risk after a preventive intervention, compared to girls of the same age, according to a study presented yesterday at the Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting. However, the positive effects waned after twelve months.

“We know that nearly half of high school students in the U.S. have had sexual intercourse and one third did not use a condom during their last sexual encounter,” said Laurie J. Bauman, Ph.D., professor of pediatrics and director, Preventive Intervention Research Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and director of research, Montefiore School Health Program. “Previous interventions have been tested to reduce risk, but have typically targeted older youth and have shown mixed results. Our study investigated the effects of an intensive theory-driven intervention designed to prevent sexual risk behavior in young adolescents.”

A total of 400 Bronx-based adolescent patients from Montefiore were randomly assigned to intervention or control groups. Both groups received a 14 session intervention over a seven week period. The intervention group, called Project Prepared, did interactive exercises that addressed risk behavior, abstinence, HIV/STI knowledge, correct condom use, peer pressure and understanding relationships. The control group, called TEEN, did not receive this sexual risk reduction content, instead receiving peer counseling and education about self-esteem, communication and mental health.

Data were collected at baseline and six and twelve months later. Analyses show that there were no significant differences between the groups at baseline, but six months post-baseline boys who were randomized to Project Prepared had improved HIV knowledge and improved abstinence self-efficacy compared to boys who were randomized to the TEEN intervention. However, 12 months post-baseline the effects had diminished. Interestingly, girls showed no benefit from the intervention.

“Further study is needed to determine why the intervention wasn’t effective for girls, but anecdotally, we have heard that many girls believe if a condom is used during sexual intercourse, the partner doesn’t believe she is ‘the one,’” said Dr. Bauman. “Ongoing intervention, education, and developmentally-appropriate guidance are required to maintain the positive impact that can be achieved for boys and support both boys and girls through different situations over time.”

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About Montefiore Health SystemMontefiore is a premier academic health system and the University Hospital for Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Combining nationally-recognized clinical excellence with a population health perspective that focuses on the comprehensive needs of the communities it serves, Montefiore delivers coordinated, compassionate, science-driven care where, when and how patients need it most. Montefiore consists of eight hospitals and an extended care facility with a total of 2,747 beds, a School of Nursing, and state-of-the-art primary and specialty care provided through a network of more than 150 locations across the region, including the largest school health program in the nation and a home health program. The Children's Hospital at Montefiore is consistently named in U.S. News' "America's Best Children's Hospitals." Montefiore's partnership with Einstein advances clinical and translational research to accelerate the pace at which new discoveries become the treatments and therapies that benefit patients. The health system derives its inspiration for excellence from its patients and community, and continues to be on the frontlines of developing innovative approaches to care. For more information please visit http://www.montefiore.org. Follow us on Twitter; like us on Facebook; view us on YouTube.

About Albert Einstein College of MedicineAlbert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University is one of the nation’s premier centers for research, medical education and clinical investigation. During the 2014-2015 academic year, Einstein is home to 742 M.D. students, 212 Ph.D. students, 102 students in the combined M.D./Ph.D. program, and 292 postdoctoral research fellows. The College of Medicine has more than 2,000 full-time faculty members located on the main campus and at its clinical affiliates. In 2014, Einstein received $158 million in awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This includes the funding of major research centers at Einstein in aging, intellectual development disorders, diabetes, cancer, clinical and translational research, liver disease, and AIDS. Other areas where the College of Medicine is concentrating its efforts include developmental brain research, neuroscience, cardiac disease, and initiatives to reduce and eliminate ethnic and racial health disparities. Its partnership with Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital and academic medical center for Einstein, advances clinical and translational research to accelerate the pace at which new discoveries become the treatments and therapies that benefit patients. Through its extensive affiliation network involving Montefiore, Jacobi Medical Center—Einstein’s founding hospital, and three other hospital systems in the Bronx, Brooklyn and on Long Island, Einstein runs one of the largest residency and fellowship training programs in the medical and dental professions in the United States. For more information, please visit www.einstein.yu.edu, read our blog, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and view us on YouTube.