Assessing the Impact of a Small-Group Behavioral Intervention on Sexual Behaviors Among Adolescent Girls and Young Women in Lilongwe Malawi: A Quasi-Experimental Cohort Study

AIDS Behav. 2020 May;24(5):1542-1550. doi: 10.1007/s10461-019-02669-4.


Adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in sub-Saharan Africa are at high risk of many adverse sexual and reproductive health outcomes. Small-group interventions addressing underlying vulnerabilities may influence risky sexual behaviors associated with these adverse outcomes. Girl Power-Malawi assessed whether a facilitator-led, curriculum-driven small-group behavioral intervention impacted risky sexual behaviors among AGYW in Lilongwe, Malawi. Four Health Centers were selected; two were randomly assigned to provide the intervention. Two-hundred fifty AGYW 15-24 years old were enrolled in each clinic (N = 1000 total), followed for 1 year, and interviewed at baseline and endline. At both time points participants reported on two behaviors in the last month (vaginal sex and ≥ 2 sexual partners) and two behaviors in the last year (age-disparate relationships and transactional relationships). In intervention clinics, there were no declines in risk behaviors between baseline and endline. Endline behaviors were not less risky in intervention clinics than control clinics. This intervention did not have a positive effect on four risk behaviors over a 1-year period.

Keywords: Adolescent; HIV; Prevention; Risk; Sexual behavior.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections* / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Malawi
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Young Adult