To reduce their risk of HIV through behavioral change, adolescents not only need information on their perception of personal vulnerability but also skills and confidence in their ability to act safely. Be Proud! Be Responsible! provides adolescents with the knowledge, motivation, and skills to change their behaviors in ways that will reduce their risk of contracting HIV. Although not specifically pregnancy prevention-oriented, many of the communication and condom skills taught will also help participants avoid unintended pregnancy and other STDs.
Be Proud! Be Responsible! is comprised of a series of fun and interactive learning experiences designed to increase participation and enhance learning. Activities include educational videos, trigger films, role plays, condom demonstrations, and other exercises. Most activities are brief, lasting no more than 20 minutes.
The curriculum was designed to be used with small groups ranging from 6 to 12 participants, but it has been implemented in recent years in settings with larger numbers of participants. It can be implemented in various community settings, including schools and youth-serving agencies.
The curriculum has 6 hours of content divided into six 50-minute modules. It can be implemented in six sessions of 50 minutes each or in three 1-hour-and-40-minute sessions. In community settings, it can be implemented in a 2-day format (2.5 hours each day), a 6-day format (50 minutes each day) or on a single day (Saturday) for approximately 5 hours, plus time for serving lunch and snacks.
The goals of the program are to:
- Help young people change behaviors that place them at risk for HIV.
- Delay the initiation of sex among sexually inexperienced youth.
- Reduce unprotected sex among sexually active youth.
- Help young people make proud and responsible decisions about their sexual behaviors.
Participants who received the Be Proud! Be Responsible! intervention reported significantly less sexual risk behavior, fewer number of partners, and reduced sexual intercourse frequency.
In the original study (Jemmott, Jemmott and Fong, 1992), a randomized control trial was conducted to test the effects of the Be Proud! Be Responsible! (BPBR) intervention. In the research study, the 5-hour curriculum was implemented in a small group setting with African-American male adolescents on two Saturdays in a local school in Trenton, New Jersey. The participants were 157 African-American male adolescents with a mean age of 14.6 years. (S.D. = 1.66), who were recruited from a local medical clinic (44%), high school (32%) and YMCA (24%).Participants were stratified by age and randomly assigned to receive one of two curricula: Be Proud! Be Responsible! or a career development intervention.
The participants completed questionnaires before, immediately after, and 3 months after the intervention. Of the original 157 participants, 98% attended the 3-month follow up from the BPBR intervention and 93% of the control intervention attendees returned. The primary outcome was an index of risky sexual behaviors in the previous 3 months, which included sexual intercourse frequency, multiple partners, number of sex partners involved with other men, consistent condom use, and heterosexual anal sexual intercourse.
The participants who received the Be Proud! Be Responsible! intervention reported significantly less sexual risk behavior, based on the risky sex scale at 3-month follow-up (p < .01). They also reported fewer number of partners (p < .003). The BPBR intervention also significantly reduced sexual intercourse frequency (p < .008), compared to the control group. BPBR participants also reported fewer female sex partners involved with other men (p < .05), and fewer days not using a condom during sex (p < .003). In addition, adolescents in the intervention group were significantly less likely to report engaging in heterosexual anal sex (p < .02) than adolescents in the comparison group at the 3-month follow-up.
The BPBR intervention effect was greatest with female facilitators, suggesting facilitator gender can moderate intervention efficacy. The adolescents who received the BPBR intervention believed more strongly that practicing abstinence would prevent pregnancy, STDs and AIDS (p < .0001, p=.04, p=.04), expressed less favorable attitudes toward sexual intercourse (p < .0001, p < .0001, p< .0001), and reported weaker intentions of having sexual intercourse over the next three months (F(1, 144) = 7.58) than did those in the control group. BPBR participants also scored significantly higher in HIV risk-reduction knowledge (p < .0003) compared to the control group.
Jemmott, J. B. III, Jemmott, L. S., Fong, G. T. 1992. Reductions in HIV risk-associated sexual behaviors among Black male adolescents: Effects of an AIDS prevention intervention. American Journal of Public Health 82 (3): 372–377.
Jemmott, J. B. III, Jemmott, L.S., Fong, G. T., McCaffree. K. 1999. Reducing HIV risk-associated sexual behavior among African American adolescents: Testing the generality of intervention effects. American Journal of Community Psychology 27 (2): 161-87.
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