Plain Talk Philadelphia: A Sexual Health Intervention

The public health issue: Young people in Philadelphia experience high rates of unintended pregnancy. Many never receives comprehensive sex education. Without the information to make informed, empowered, and thoughtful sexual decisions, teens are left unprepared to manage their reproductive health.

Typical forms of disseminating sex education only reach those directly enrolled in a program and don’t always leave young people with the opportunities to ask further questions after the program ends.

Solution: Plain Talk Philadelphia was a five-year study we conducted of a community-wide sexual health intervention implemented in North Philadelphia public housing developments which facilitated discussion about sex, birth control, and pregnancy between teens and adults in the community. The program is designed to increase adolescent self-esteem and self-efficacy through interactive workshops for adolescents and their parents on topics such as sexual health, anatomy and physiology, and decision-making.

Our Contribution:

  • Surveyed at three points during the adolescent education programming and post-event surveys with parents that asked participants about satisfaction, knowledge gained, and intention
  • Structured observations evaluating curriculum fidelity, education delivery, and other successes and challenges
  • Conducted focus groups with participants about their experiences with the program, their sources of trusted health information, and their reactions to the advertising of the program
  • Conducted in-person interviews with adolescents and their parents in public housing communities

Partners: PHMC’s Health Promotion Services

Funders: Family and Youth Services Bureau; Administration on Children, Youth and Families.

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