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Increasing adolescent girls’ ability to identify STI-risk characteristics of sexual partners: a pilot study within an alternative disciplinary school
  1. Eric Richardson1,
  2. Kelli A Komro2,
  3. Esaa Samarah3,4,
  4. Stephanie A S Staras3,4
  1. 1 School of Human Development and Organizational Studies, College of Education, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA
  2. 2 Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  3. 3 Department of Health Outcomes and Biomedical Informatics, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA
  4. 4 Institute for Child Health Policy, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Stephanie A S Staras, Department of Health Outcomes and Biomedical Informatics, and Institute for Child Health Policy, University of Florida, College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA; sstaras{at}


Objectives We evaluated the feasibility of conducting a 9-week long sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention intervention, Angels in Action, within an alternative disciplinary school for adolescent girls.

Methods All girls who were 16–18 years old, enrolled in the school and did not have plans to transfer from the school were eligible to participate. We measured process feasibility with recruitment, retention and participant enjoyment. Using a pretest-post-test design with a double post-test, we used χ² tests to estimate the intervention effect on participants’ sexual partner risk knowledge, intentions to reduce partner risk and sexual activities in the past 60 days with three behavioural surveys: prior to, immediately following and 3 months after the intervention.

Results Among the 20 girls who were eligible, 95% (19/20) of parents consented and all girls (19/19) agreed to participate. Survey participation was 100% (19/19) prior to, 76% (13/17) immediately following and 53% (9/17) 3 months after the intervention. The intervention was administered twice and a total 17 girls participated. Session attendance was high (89%) and most participants (80%) reported enjoying the intervention. The intervention increased the percentage of girls who could identify partner characteristics associated with increased STI risk: 38% before, 92% immediately following and 100% 3 months after the intervention (p=0.01). Girls also increased their intentions to find out four of the most highly associated partner characteristics (partner’s age, recent sexual activity and STI or jail history): 32% before to 75% immediately following (p=0.02) and 67% 3 months after the intervention (p=0.09).

Conclusions This pilot study suggests girls at alternative disciplinary schools participated in and enjoyed a 9-week STI preventive intervention. Within alternative disciplinary schools, it is potentially feasible to increase girls’ consideration of partner risk characteristics as a means to enhance their STI prevention skills.

  • pilot studies
  • sexually transmitted infection
  • adolescent
  • schools
  • primary prevention
  • sexual partners

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  • Handling editor Catherine H Mercer

  • Contributors ER performed literature reviews and drafted the manuscript. KAK and ES aiding in designing and conducting the intervention, adapting the data collection tools and collecting and analysing the data. SASS is the principal investigator for the project and conceived the project, designed the intervention, adapted the data collection tools, lead the intervention and data collection, analysed the data and is responsible for the overall content of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding Financial support for this research was provided by the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: K01 AA018255.

  • Disclaimer Points of view and conclusions expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or polices of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Due to the sensitive nature and small number of participants, even though the final dataset will be stripped of identifiers prior to release for sharing, we believe that there remains the possibility of deductive disclosure of subjects with unusual characteristics, especially since schools are very small. Thus, we will make the data and associated documentation available to users only under a data-sharing agreement that provides for: (1) a commitment to using the data only for research purposes and not to identify any individual participant; (2) a commitment to securing the data using appropriate computer technology and (3) a commitment to destroying or returning the data after analyses are completed.