Does Girl Talk-2 Work in the Juvenile Justice System?

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Girls in the juvenile justice system have a high prevalence of STD/HIV risk behaviors, yet research intervention studies seldom involve this population. The proposed study assesses the impact of an innovative empowerment curriculum that targets the STD/HIV risk behaviors of 580 high-risk girls involved in five different areas of the juvenile justice system and compares them to 580 girls from the same population that receive traditional video/lecture STD/HIV prevention education. A cyclical cohort design will be used by alternatively conducting the intervention program 25 times and a control program 25 times in the five areas (alternative high school, first offender program, probation program, short-term detention facility, longer-term detention facility). The knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of both groups, along with biological markers of sexual activity (chlamydia, pregnancy tests) will be assessed at baseline, at the conclusion of the intervention, at three months post intervention, and at six months post intervention. The analysis will compare differences between the intervention and control groups, as well as stratify results by both level of involvement in the juvenile justice system and by presence or absence of prior risk factors (i.e., chlamydia infection, pregnancy, and dating violence). Challenges in recruitment, program delivery, and location of participants for follow-up data collection will also be documented, along with all program costs, to enhance the feasibility of implementing future health promotions interventions with this population. The collaboration between a school of nursing and a local juvenile probation department provides a unique opportunity to implement and evaluate a community-centered STD/HIV prevention intervention.
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