Jan 24, 2013


Positive Prevention is an HIV/STD prevention education curriculum for high school students.  In a random assignment study, students in classes assigned to receive the Positive Prevention curriculum were compared with students in classes assigned to a control group.  Among students who were sexually inexperienced at baseline, students from Positive Prevention classrooms were significantly less likely than control students to have initiated sexual activity over the six-month follow-up period.  Students in the treatment group increased their self-efficacy to abstain from sex and their self-efficacy for condom use.


Target population: 9th-12th grade students

The Positive Prevention curriculum consists of six lessons, each 45 minutes in length.  Lessons address myths and stereotypes associated with HIV, the effects of HIV, risk behaviors related to HIV, communication and refusal skills, and community resources for HIV testing and counseling.  Students developed personal contracts to avoid HIV/STDs.  Though all lessons emphasize the message that students should protect themselves by abstaining from sex altogether, condom use skills are taught.


LaChausse, R.G.  (2006).  Evaluation of the Positive Prevention HIV/STD Curriculum.  American Journal of Health Education, 37(4), 203-209.

Evaluated population: 287 9th grade students from four Southern California high schools served as the study sample for this investigation.  16% of students were African American; 60% were Latino; 10% were white; 3% were Asian American; 2% were Native American; and 9% were of another ethnicity.  At baseline, 12% of students reported already having had sexual intercourse.

Approach: Classes of students were randomly assigned to the treatment group or the control group.  Classes assigned to the treatment group received the Positive Prevention curriculum as part of their physical science class.  Classes assigned to the control group did not receive this curriculum.  All students completed baseline surveys before the program began.  Students completed follow-up surveys one month and six months after completion of the curriculum.  Students who indicated that they did not answer survey questions honestly were excluded from analysis.

Results: Among those students who reported being sexually inexperienced at baseline, only 9% of students in Positive Prevention classes reported having initiated sexual intercourse by the six-month follow-up, compared with 24% of students in control classes.  This constituted a significant difference, and the computation of odds ratios revealed that, among virgins at baseline, students in the control group were five times more likely than students in the treatment group to have had sex after six months.

Over the six-month follow-up period, treatment students increased their self-efficacy to abstain from sexual activity and to use condoms to a greater extent than did control students.  Among sexually active students, non-experimental analyses found the Positive Prevention program was not associated with increases in condom use or decreases in sexual activity, however.

The Positive Prevention program had no impact on students’ knowledge about HIV/AIDS or their attitudes toward abstaining from intercourse.

Note: Analyses did not take into account that randomization occurred at the level of the classroom.



LaChausse, R.G.  (2006).  Evaluation of the Positive Prevention HIV/STD Curriculum.  American Journal of Health Education, 37(4), 203-209.

Program information and curriculum materials available at:

KEYWORDS: High School, Adolescence (12-17), Youth, School-based, Education, Skills Training, Reproductive Health, STD/HIV/AIDS, Sexual Initiation, Risky Sex, Black or African-American, Hispanic or Latino, White or Caucasian, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian.

Program information last updated on 1/24/13.