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School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

Tulane Addresses Sexual Health and HIV

In September, Dr. Patricia Kissinger, professor of epidemiology, concluded a two year program called BUtiful (Be yoU, Talented, Informed, Fearless, Uncompromised, Loved), an Internet-delivered pregnancy prevention program translated from a similar program called SiHLE (Sisters, Informing, Healing, Living, Empowering).


Compared to face-to-face programs, Internet interventions like BUtiful provide consistency in the presentation of information to those who engage, and they require minimal resources to conduct once the intervention is produced. Based out of the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, BUtiful was implemented at partnering sites across the New Orleans metro area including local community colleges and universities as well as various community based organizations. The program was launched in 2012 as part of a study called “You Geaux Girl” (YGG!) to determine if the online intervention would be effective in increasing rates of reliable contraception use, and decreasing rates of unintended pregnancy, chlamydia, and Gonorrhea.

From August 2012 – September 2014, 650 18- and 19-year-old African American women enrolled in the YGG! study, with half receiving BUtiful and the other half, as a comparison group, receiving another health education website on nutrition and general health. In addition to health education, all participants were offered free screening for pregnancy, chlamydia, and gonorrhea.  Staff members offered counseling and resources that lead these women to more comprehensive care and screening, including screening for HIV.

Enrollment for the project has ended, and participants are at various stages of completing post-program follow-up visits.  The developers and evaluators are hoping that BUtiful will prove to be an effective way to communicate information to young women about preventing unintended pregnancy, fostering healthy relationships, communicating effectively, and setting goals. If effective, BUtiful could be disseminated and used by schools, universities, community based organizations, and other youth-serving programs.

UNAIDS Science now featured a publication by Dr. Philip Anglewicz, assistant professor of global health systems and development, on the impact of rural-urban migration and sexual debut in Thailand. The site specifically noted how much of the current research on sexual behavior focuses on sub-Saharan Africa, but Dr. Anglewicz’s research usefully focuses on an Asian country experiencing rapid urbanization. The paper was featured in the HIV this month section of the website platform for discussions on HIV science.

The paper, which also includes Keller Professor Dr. Mark VanLandingham as an author, was originally published in the September issue of Demography. Among other issues, their research pointed to the risk of early sexual debut and HIV infection based on a number of factors. The authors used longitudinal data sets as well as a survey on sexual behavior, finding that migrants have a higher likelihood of sexual debut than non-migrants.