A group risk-reduction intervention that uses role-playing, videos, games, and skill-building exercises to promote knowledge about HIV/AIDS, positive coping, and problem-solving skills for high-risk teens in the juvenile justice system, showed great potential for reducing sexual risk-taking. The findings were published in Health Psychology and funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Annually, over one million youth are involved in the American juvenile justice system. They experience more mental illness, substance abuse, and sexually transmitted infections than their non-adjudicated peers. However, few evidence-based interventions exist to address these problems.
Led by Dr. Geri Donenberg, at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health’s Community Outreach Intervention Project, a randomized trial called PHAT Life: Preventing HIV/AIDS Among Teens, was conducted with 310 urban youth, ages 13 to 17, on probation in Chicago’s Cook County, which has the second-largest county justice system in the United States.