Black older-teenaged women have disproportionately high rates of sexually transmitted infections (STI) and unintended pregnancy (UTP). Internet-based interventions can be delivered to large groups of people in a relatively inexpensive manner. In this randomized trial, we examine the efficacy of an evidence-based STI/UTP prevention intervention adapted for older teens and for Internet delivery.
Black women aged 18–19 years who were not pregnant/seeking to become pregnant were enrolled (n = 637) and randomized to an 8-session intervention or attention control and were followed up at 6/12 months postintervention. The primary outcome was defined as uptake of reliable contraceptives. Other secondary outcomes were examined, including intention to use condoms, intention to use reliable contraception, and STI or pregnancy rates.
Overall, at baseline, reliable contraception was 54.8% and dual protection was 29.4%, and the prevalence of STI was 11.1%. Participants were similar by arm for most factors considered. Participation and follow-up rates were excellent (60.9% and 80.3%). There was no statistically significant difference in uptake of reliable contraception for intervention versus controls at 6 months (1.45 [0.99–2.12]) or 12 months (1.33 [0.92–1.91]). At 6 months, several secondary outcomes were improved/trended toward improvement in intervention compared with control, but this effect waned by 12 months, except for intention to use condoms which remained improved.
Conclusion and Relevance
The intervention was efficacious for increasing some self-reported UTP and STI prevention behaviors, which waned over time, and the intervention had minimal impact on STI or pregnancy rates suggesting that this type of online intervention may need additional components.