Behavioral Counseling Interventions to Prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement

JAMA. 2020 Aug 18;324(7):674-681. doi: 10.1001/jama.2020.13095.


Importance: Approximately 20 million new cases of bacterial or viral sexually transmitted infections (STIs) occur each year in the US, and about one-half of these cases occur in persons aged 15 to 24 years. Rates of chlamydial, gonococcal, and syphilis infection continue to increase in all regions. Sexually transmitted infections are frequently asymptomatic, which may delay diagnosis and treatment and lead persons to unknowingly transmit STIs to others. Serious consequences of STIs include pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, cancer, and AIDS.

Objective: To update its 2014 recommendation, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) commissioned a review of the evidence on the benefits and harms of behavioral counseling interventions for preventing STI acquisition.

Population: This recommendation statement applies to all sexually active adolescents and to adults at increased risk for STIs.

Evidence assessment: The USPSTF concludes with moderate certainty that behavioral counseling interventions reduce the likelihood of acquiring STIs in sexually active adolescents and in adults at increased risk, including for example, those who have a current STI, do not use condoms, or have multiple partners, resulting in a moderate net benefit.

Recommendation: The USPSTF recommends behavioral counseling for all sexually active adolescents and for adults at increased risk for STIs. (B recommendation).

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Behavior Therapy* / methods
  • Counseling* / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Primary Health Care
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control*