Literature Review

Initiative Description: Review of both abstinence and comprehensive sex and STD/HIV education programs. 56 studies assessed the impact of such curricula (8 that evaluated 9 abstinence programs and 48 that evaluated comprehensive programs).

Study Results: Most abstinence programs did not delay the initiation of sex and only 3 of 9 had any significant positive effects on any sexual behavior. In contrast, about two-thirds of comprehensive programs showed strong evidence that they positively affected young people’s sexual behavior, including both delaying initiation of sex and increasing condom and contraceptive use.

Reference: Kirby, D. B. (2008). The impact of abstinence and comprehensive sex and STD/HIV education programs on adolescent sexual behavior. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 5(3), 18–27.

Level of Evidence: 3 out of 5 stars Very Good