A study conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins University aimed to develop and evaluate youth-led interventions to increase young people’s knowledge, self-efficacy, and autonomy regarding their sexual and reproductive health. Over a period of 9 months, 37 participants attended 2-hour sessions on a range of sexual health topics such as sexually transmitted diseases, contraception, reproductive anatomy, sexual violence, and sexual decision-making. The majority of participants were female, with an average age of 15.8 years, and 52% were Black/African American.
Before and after the intervention implementation, electronic questionnaires assessed the participants’ sexual and reproductive health knowledge, self-efficacy, and autonomy, using validated scales. The assessments showed that the participants had an improvement in their sexual and reproductive health knowledge, advocacy and self-efficacy, personal safety, and autonomy, with statistically significant results. The researchers concluded that the youth-led intervention effectively increased the participants’ sexual and reproductive health knowledge, self-efficacy, and autonomy, suggesting that more research needs to be conducted to evaluate the effect of peer-to-peer sexual and reproductive health education.
Overall, educating young people on reproductive health is crucial as they are disproportionately affected by sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies. The results of this study highlight the effectiveness of youth-led interventions in increasing young people’s sexual and reproductive health knowledge, self-efficacy, and autonomy.