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Evidence-Based Programs

All Evidence-Based Programs

Becoming A Responsible Teen (BART)

Overview of the Curriculum
Becoming a Responsible Teen

(B.A.R.T.) is an HIV prevention curriculum primarily for African American adolescents, ages 14-18, in non-school, community-based settings. It consists of eight sessions, 1.5 to 2 hours each, and includes interactive group discussions and role plays that have been created by teens. Teens learn to "spread the word" to their friends about HIV risks. They are encouraged to practice skills outside the group and share the results. The group provides creative solutions to reported problems.

Although the focus of Becoming a Responsible Teen is HIV/AIDS prevention, the curriculum includes topics and activities relevant to teen pregnancy prevention. Teens learn to clarify their own values about sexual decisions and pressures as well as practice skills to reduce sexual risk-taking. These include correct condom use, assertive communication, refusal techniques, self-management, and problem solving. Also, abstinence is woven throughout the curriculum and is discussed as the best way to prevent HIV infection and pregnancy.

Curriculum Objectives

At the conclusion of this program, youth will be able to:

  • State accurate information about HIV and AIDS, including means of transmission, prevention, and current community impact.
  • Clarify their own values about sexual decisions and pressures.
  • Demonstrate skills in correct condom use, assertive communication, refusal, information provision, self-management, problem-solving, and risk reduction.

Curriculum Sessions

Becoming a Responsible Teen includes the following eight sessions:

Session 1: Understanding HIV and AIDS

Session 2: Making Sexual Decisions and Understanding Your Values

Session 3: Developing and Using Condom Skills

Session 4: Learning Assertive Communication Skills

Session 5: Practicing Assertive Communication Skills

Session 6: Personalizing the Risks

Session 7: Spreading the Word

Session 8: Taking B.A.R.T. with You

Unique Features of the Curriculum

Becoming a Responsible Teen has features that distinguish it from other HIV prevention curricula:

  • Teens had an active role in developing all aspects of the curriculum.
  • It focuses on the needs of African American adolescents, aged 14-18.
  • It was implemented in non-school, community-based settings.
  • It was designed to be used with gender-specific groups, each group facilitated by both a male and a female group leader.
  • It has been demonstrated to be effective with both sexually experienced and sexually abstinent youth.

Theoretical Framework

Becoming A Responsible Teen (B.A.R.T.) relies on many years of learning about what is needed to change behavior. It is based on the knowledge that information and awareness are preconditions that set the stage for change and that people learn by seeing others model the desired behaviors and values. Social Leaning Theory and Self-efficacy Theory provide the theoretical basis for B.A.R.T. These theories are reflected in B.A.R.T. in four major components:

  • First, information is provided that increases adolescents' knowledge and their awareness of risk.
  • Second, training is provided in the skills adolescents need to translate the information into action.
  • Third, adolescents are given opportunities to practice and receive corrective feedback, using skills in a safe environment with their peers before they face the challenges of using them in risky situations.
  • Fourth, social support is provided for the desired behaviors, to help make them the norm in the youth's social environment.

Ordering and Training Information

To learn more about Becoming a Responsible Teen, including ordering and training information visit:



African American adolescents, separated by gender, attended 8 weekly sessions of a sexuality education program that included behavioral skills training. In addition to information about AIDS and prevention of HIV infection, the youth participated in activities to build skills in correct condom use, assertive communication, refusal, information provision, self management, problem solving, and risk recognition. Group sizes ranged from 5 to 15, and sessions lasted from 90 to 120 minutes each. Fourteen sets of sessions were conducted over 3 years in a comprehensive community health center serving predominately low-income minority residents in a Southern urban area of 400,000.

Behavioral Findings

Of the youth who were sexually abstinent prior to the intervention, only 11.5% were sexually active one year later compared with 31% of participants in the control group. Among those sexually active prior to the intervention, 42% of the control group remained so after one year versus only 27% of the intervention group. In comparison to their behavior before the intervention, and in comparison with those in the control group, youth who participated in the intervention were more likely to use condoms and less likely to engage in unprotected vaginal or anal intercourse.

Other Significant Findings

Despite the fact that both groups received the same basic information component, the intervention group scored higher on the AIDS knowledge test than the control group and maintained that lead across the 12-month follow-up period. Moreover, youth from the intervention group were more skillful than those in the control group in handling pressures to engage in unprotected sex and in providing information to peers.

Research Design

Two hundred forty-six adolescents were randomly assigned either to a control condition or to the experimental intervention. The control condition consisted of a single two-hour session that provided information about HIV/AIDS including its nature, prevention, and impact on the local community. Interactive discussions were interspersed with games, activities, and problem solving. The first session of the experimental intervention was identical to the control condition.

Participants completed questionnaires before, immediately after, and at 6-month intervals for one year after the intervention. Of the original 246 participants, 91.5% completed the 12-month follow-up. Measures included HIV risk, sexual behaviors, self-efficacy, attitude toward condoms, and HIV/AIDS knowledge.


Fisher & Fisher (1992). Changing AIDS Risk Behavior, Psychological Bulletin 111:455-474.

St. Lawrence JS, Brasfield T, Jefferson KW, Alleyne E., O'Bannon RE, Shirley, A (1995). Cognitive-behavioral intervention to reduce African-American adolescents' risk for HIV infection. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 63(2): 221-237.

BART Adaptation Kit

ETR Associates and the CDC Division of Reproductive Health collaborated to develop adaptation tools and resources for several evidenced-based pregnancy and STD/HIV prevention programs, including BART. The BART Adaptation Kit contains practical tools and resources to guide adolescent reproductive health practitioners in making effective adaptations and maintaining fidelity to the program's core components.

This adaptation kit provides clarity on how BART was designed, its core components, and the types of adaptations that are considered safe and those that should be avoided. For other available adaptation kits, go to Making Adaptations.