OBJECTIVES: To examine the efficacy of sexual risk reduction interventions among South African youth.
METHODS: Electronic databases were searched to identify studies published between 2007 and early 2013. Studies were eligible if they (1) targeted youth age 9-26, (2) evaluated sexual risk reduction interventions and (3) reported at least one behavioral outcome. Independent raters coded study characteristics, and intervention content. Weighted mean effect sizes were calculated; positive effect sizes indicated less sexual risk behavior and incident STIs.
RESULTS: Ten studies (k = 11; N = 22,788; 54% female; 79% Black-African) were included. Compared to controls, interventions were successful at delaying sexual intercourse and, among sexually active youth, at increasing condom use. A single study found reductions in the incidence of herpes simplex virus-2, but not HIV.
CONCLUSIONS: Implementing behavioral interventions to delay sexual debut and improve condom use can help to reduce the transmission of HIV among South African youth.