Students' Sexual Behavior Unchanged in Philadelphia AIDS Prevention Study

Assessment of Philadelphia's school-based AIDS prevention program

Investigators at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, assessed the effectiveness of a school-based condom-availability program when Philadelphia's school system launched a pilot AIDS prevention program in nine public high schools in 1992.

From September 1992 through August 1998 investigators added evaluation questions about teens' sexual activity and contraceptive behavior to existing longitudinal surveys.

Key Findings

  • In a May 1997 article published by Family Planning Perspectives, investigators reported that:

    • "Analysis of survey data collected in 1991 and 1993 suggest that the presence of the condom-availability program did not increase the level of sexual activity among students in these schools and may have contributed to safer sex practices."
    • "A modest downturn in the proportion of students engaged in unprotected sex occurred in schools with [health resource centers] (from 8% to 6%), while the proportion in schools without centers was relatively unchanged (about 5% in each)."
    • Although this study assessed program impact "at an early stage, in schools with [health resource centers], knowledge of the program was widespread, use was generally moderate or high, and satisfaction with services was great."
    • The time-series data provide strong evidence that the presence of a health resource center in a school did not increase students' level of sexual activity, investigators reported.