Youth involved in the juvenile justice system report significantly higher rates of STI/HIV infections, compared to youth in the general population. A limited number of epidemiological studies document that social–ecological factors at the peer, family, school, and policy levels are significantly related to unsafe sexual behaviors among this population. However, no existing studies have evaluated the extent to which existing STI/HIV intervention approaches target the various social–ecological factors that are implicated in STI/HIV risk behaviors among this cohort. Applying the social–ecological framework, we review research on STI/HIV prevention and intervention programs, which targeted family, peers, and school contexts of children and adolescent involved in the juvenile justice system. Our findings suggest that these youth report significantly higher rates of STI than do those with no juvenile justice involvement. However, we also found that a bulk of the programs reviewed have targeted individual risk factors as the primary target for behavior change, even though contextual factors beyond the individual are implicated in sexual behaviors. We conclude with implications for research and practice based on this review.
- Juvenile justice
- Social–ecological framework