A study in Kenya of 19,000 subjects found that sex education and economic incentive to stay in school can make an impact on STI rates amongst students. The study ran mainly from 2003 to 2006 while subjects were in primary school, with a cross-sectional survey follow-up from 2009 to 2011. During the follow-up, which reached 81% of the original subjects, it was found that women who received both sex education and economic incentive to attend school had a 20% lower rate of infection for HSV-2.
The study explored two different tactics to improve the rates of infection. The first was to give students free school uniforms as an economic incentive to stay in school, and the second was to implement the national HIV/AIDS curriculum, which focuses on abstinence until marriage and contains no condom information. The study found that rates of infection improved when both tactics were used together but not when either was used independently.
It was concluded that the national HIV/AIDS curriculum was not enough to lower rates of infection on its own, and further analysis is needed to understand why both tactics together were needed to lower infection rates. The study points to a need to educate adolescent students on STI prevention so students’ STI rates are lower in adulthood.
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