The current state of the youth HIV epidemic, limited funding, and a growing research base encourage the use of evidence-based interventions (EBIs) to prevent youth HIV. Since EBIs have been proven to be effective, may save time and money, and can be adapted, organizations that work with youth and want to integrate HIV prevention programming should consider them.
EBIs Have Been Proven To Be Effective
Simply put, if you maintain the fidelity of the key components of an EBI, the likelihood of success increases.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of Adolescent and School Health website cites a number of research findings that show well-implemented HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention programs can decrease sexual risk behaviors among students, including:
- Delaying first sexual intercourse
- Reducing the number of sex partners
- Decreasing the number of times students have unprotected sex
- Increasing condom use
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) National Registry of Evidence-Based Practices also lists a number of interventions designed to:
- Support mental health
- Reduce substance use
- Support wellness
Youth HIV Facts
Using an EBI may save time and money
Developing a new program can take significant time to design, test, and evaluate. For EBIs, someone else has paid for that time. It can be difficult to implement science-based programming in some settings and organizational capacity varies. Recognizing these challenges, CDC funded the RAND Corporation and University of South Carolina to develop a program planning toolkit, Getting to Outcomes. The four phases of Getting to Outcomes include setting goals, planning programs, evaluating programs, and sustaining the work. This program planning toolkit includes 10 proven steps for implementing EBIs and a free implementation guide.
EBIs can be adapted
Organizations must work to deliver an EBI as designed to achieve expected outcomes. Most EBIs are packaged with training guides, youth education resources, and implementation checklists that are included under each EBI profiled on this site. Each EBI specifies the profession and skills neccesary for implementation.
Additionally, implementation will likely require that organizations adapt EBIs to address the characteristics of the youth they serve. ETR Associates, under a cooperative agreement with the CDC Division of Reproductive Health, developed guidelines on how to make appropriate adaptations to sexual health EBIs. These guidelines provide general information to program planners and facilitators about how to adapt most evidence-based sexual health curricula. “Green,” “Yellow,” and “Red” light adaptations common across evaluated programs have been identified; examples are provided for each.
We must create spaces where youth know their rights and feel comfortable advocating for themselves."
Maranda - Washington, DC