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Evidence-Based Programs

All Evidence-Based Programs

Promoting Health Among Teens! - Abstinence-Only (PHAT)

Overview of the Curriculum

Promoting Health Among Teens! (PHAT) is an abstinence-based intervention designed to improve awareness and knowledge about HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs); increase understanding of how abstinence can prevent pregnancy, HIV, and STIs; and build refusal and negotiation skills for practicing abstinence.

Available information describes the target population as African American male and female adolescents from low-income urban communities. The suggested age range is 8-13; however, the curriculum can be used with fidelity with adolescents older than 13. PHAT was designed to be used with small groups of adolescents in an urban area but can be adapted to be used with larger numbers of participants in rural areas as well. The curriculum can be implemented in various community settings, including schools or youth-serving agencies.

The target outcome is abstaining from vaginal, oral, and anal sex until the adolescent is better prepared to handle the consequences of sex later in life. The program neither encourages nor discourages condom use.

Curriculum Objectives

After participating in the curriculum, students will be better able to:

  • Recognize abstinence as the best way to avoid pregnancy and HIV/STDs
  • View abstinence as a positive choice
  • Recognize teen pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and STDs as obstacles to their goals and dreams
  • Respond with confidence to pressures to have sex

Curriculum Sessions

The intervention consists of eight one-hour modules, delivered on two consecutive Saturdays. Trained facilitators follow the intervention manual to implement the program, which is structured around group discussions, DVDs, games, role plays, brainstorming activities, skill-building, games and experiential exercise. Four of the modules are targeted specifically to encouraging abstinence and four cover more general content related to HIV/STI knowledge. Most activities are brief and can be completed in 10 to 15 minutes.

Modules Outline:

  1. Getting to Know You and Steps to Making Your Dreams Come True
  2. Puberty and Adolescent Sexuality
  3. Making Abstinence Work for Me
  4. The Consequences of Sex: HIV/AIDS
  5. The Consequences of Sex: Sexually Transmitted Diseases
  6. The Consequences of Sex: Pregnancy
  7. Improving Sexual Choices and Negotiation
  8. Role-Plays: Refusal and Negotiation Skills


Unique Features of the Curriculum

This curriculum is very interactive and student-centric. Features that make it unique from other abstinence-only programs are providing only medically accurate information, not suggesting abstinence-until-marriage, not making any moral judgments, including teen pregnancy along with HIV and STDs as an unwanted outcome, and homework assignments that involve talking to parents about tough subjects.


Theoretical Framework

Promoting Health Among Teens! - Abstinence-Only draws upon these three theories: Social-Cognitive Theory, the Theory of Reasoned Action and the Theory of Planned Behavior. These theories have been shown to be of great value to understanding a wide range of health-related behaviors. All three theories emphasize the importance of beliefs about whether a given behavior will have negative or positive consequences.


Ordering and Training Information

Ordering: To order the Promoting Health Among Teens-Abstinence Only curriculum, DVDs or implementation kits, call 800-321-4407 or visit ETR's website

Training: In the original implementation of the program, facilitators received a 2.5-day training and followed a program intervention manual.


Evaluation Fact Sheet


The Promoting Health Among Teens! Abstinence-Only program includes learning activities such as small group discussions, videos, games, role-plays and homework assignments. Activities are designed to help teens get the skills they need to negotiate and practice abstinence. These activities make teens aware of how choices about their sexual behavior can affect their health. The activities show that abstinence is the best way to avoid pregnancy and STDs, like HIV and AIDS.

Behavioral Findings

At the 24-month follow-up, adolescents participating in the intervention who were sexually inexperienced at baseline were significantly less likely to report having initiated sexual intercourse.

Based on an average of the 3-, 6-, 12-, 18-, and 24-month follow-ups, adolescents participating in the intervention were significantly less likely to report having had sexual intercourse in the previous three months.

Research Design

African American students in grades 6 and 7 were recruited from four public middle schools serving low-income African American communities in Northeastern United States. The mean age was 12 years. Study participants were 53% female and 47% male.


  • Jemmott, J. B.,III, Jemmott, L. S., & Fong, G. T. (2010). Efficacy of a theory-based abstinence-only intervention over 24 months: A randomized controlled trial with young adolescents. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 164(2), 152-159.