Targeting Sex Ed Messages to Teenage Girls May Increase Future Condom Use, Study Shows
A study published in the January issue of the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine suggests that "tailoring" safe-sex education to teenage girls' "individual needs" may reduce their "risky behavior" and increase condom use in the future, Reuters Health reports. Researchers led by Dr. Lydia Shrier of Harvard Medical School studied 123 girls ages 13 to 22 being treated for a STD, and found that those given "one-on-one safe-sex education" increased their condom use, went on to have fewer partners and had lower risks for contracting another STD one year after the program, compared to girls who received "standard education." Shrier said her team developed the study "in hopes that the 'reality of an STD diagnosis' would encourage [girls] to change their risky behavior." The group of "racially diverse" girls came back for four follow-up visits during the course of a year, and those receiving the one-on-one counseling were allowed to "shape" the education by choosing topics "that were most important to them." Shrier said that she hopes parents also will tailor their messages when discussing sex with their children (Norton, Reuters Health, 1/22).