Experts have identified critical characteristics of highly effective sex education and HIV/STI prevention education programs.
- Offer age and culturally appropriate sexual health information in a safe environment for participants
- Are developed in cooperation with members of the target community, especially young people
- Assist youth to clarify their individual, family, and community values
- Assist youth to develop skills in communication, refusal, and negotiation
- Provide medically accurate information about both abstinence and also contraception, including condoms
- Have clear goals for preventing HIV, other STIs, and/or teen pregnancy
- Focus on specific health behaviors related to the goals, with clear messages about these behaviors
- Address psychosocial risk and protective factors with activities to change each targeted risk and to promote each protective factor
- Respect community values and respond to community needs
- Rely on participatory teaching methods, implemented by trained educators and using all the activities as designed
Source: Advocates for Youth
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Adolescent Health provides a database of evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs that have shown effectiveness in school or community-based settings.