Pilot experience of comprehensive sexuality education among italian adolescents: Results from the eduforist project
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University of Pisa Italy
University of Foggia
ANLAIDS - National Association for the Fight against AIDS Italy
CICA - Italian Coordination of HIV/AIDS Housing Homes
CNCA - National Coordination of the Hospitality Community Italy
Caritas Ambrosiana Italy
Circolo di cultura omosessuale Mario Mieli Italy
Italian Red Cross Italy
LILA-Italian League for the fight against AIDS Italy
Italian National Institute of Health Italy
University of Verona Italy
Italian National Institute of Health, La Sapienza University of Rome Italy
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1127
Background and Objective:
Comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) is an integrated approach to sexual health and wellbeing promotion, internationally recognised to be highly effective in preventing HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), especially when experienced in school contexts. CSE, however, is not included in Italian school curricula. This study describes the results of a pilot CSE experience among Italian adolescents attending lower secondary schools of 4 Regions within the EduForIST project, funded by the Italian Ministry of Health.

The pilot experience consists of 5 modules of 2 hours conducted per classroom. Modules have been developed by a research team of pedagogists, academics, HIV/AIDS civil-society organisations (CSOs), experts and educators from CSOs that lead the activities in the schools. The modules address the domains: A) changes in adolescence, B) emotions and relationships, C) sexual identities and diversity, D) consent, STIs/pregnancy prevention, sexual health services. The last module is dedicated to evaluation of activities, by using standardised pre/post tests and satisfaction questionnaires.

The pre/post-test results referred to 35 classrooms of 11 schools (566 students). Pre/post analysis showed a significance increase of correct answers for 11/15 items investigated. Domain C and D reported the major positive increase, while a higher level of uncertainty regarded domain A and B. The students reported to be overall satisfied by the activity, especially when talking about psychological changes in adolescence and STIs’ symptoms and prevention. They reported higher neutrality regarding the methods, i.e. use of innovative technological tools, and group-work.

Pre/post-tests analysis suggested that the pilot activity was effective in providing students with correct information, enhancing knowledge and decreasing uncertainty. Evidence collected through this study and its advancements (increasing the geographical area of implementation and school grades) will foster awareness among policy makers on the value and urgency of introducing CSE in Italian school curricula.

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