WP 62 “Spring into Love:” Impact of a Youth-Led Summit on Sexual Health and Healthy Relationships for High School Students in a High-Risk Community in South Los Angeles

Tuesday, June 10, 2014
International Ballroom
Kerry Lamb, MPH, Sentient Research, West Covina, CA, Jackie Provost, MPH, UMMA Community Clinic, Los Angeles, CA, Michelle Cantu, MPH, CFHC, Jenna Gaarde, BA, California Family Health Council, Jocelyn Bush-Spurlin, BA, Planned Parenthood, Michelle Jackson, BA, South LA Youth Advisory Council Coordinator, Beatrina Greene, BA, YMCA and Peter R. Kerndt, MD, MPH, Department of Medicine, Div of Infectious Disease, USC Keck School of Medicine

Background:  The highest rates of Chlamydia (CT) and gonorrhea (GC) are among African American (AA) and Latino/a adolescents in South Los Angeles (LA).  In 2012, South LA had nearly double the CT and more than four times the GC cases among women ages 15-24 than the next-highest region.   To address this issue, community stakeholders developed a peer-led “Spring into Love” summit on sexual and relationship health.   

Methods:  Four youth groups from South LA organized a one-day youth summit with workshops on: 1)healthy relationships, 2)consent and coercion, 3)STDs and birth control, 4)access to services, and 5)an outreach/art session where youth were provided STD test kits and information and could create a large health-themed mural. Also at this event, youth were recruited to form a Youth Advisory Council (YAC) to conduct outreach and plan events for their peers. A matched pre- and post-test was conducted to evaluate changes in knowledge, intentional behavior and attitudes, empowerment, and awareness of available teen resources.  Changes were assessed using paired t-tests.  The perceived usefulness of the summit was also assessed.   A 6 month follow-up evaluation is planned.   

Results:  150 high school students participated in the workshop; 67% were female; 100% AA or Latino/a; and, 66% completed a pre-, post- event survey. Results showed increases in knowledge, intentional behavior and attitudes, empowerment, and most significantly, awareness of available teen health resources.  Fifteen were recruited and have remained actively engaged in a YAC planning peer led interventions. The 6 month follow up is in progress. 

Conclusions: Youth led-events are effective at increasing knowledge and assessing attitudes about sexual and relationship health, improving intended behavior change, increasing awareness of youth-friendly sexual health resources, and engaging youth to create community change and is an effective means to identify and recruit peer leadership for a YAC to plan future STI interventions.