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Sexually active adolescents in many countries, particularly young women, are at high risk of contracting HIV and other STIs. Early unintended pregnancy can also have a detrimental impact on young people’s lives.  The school environment plays an important role in the development of children and young people, and curriculum-based sexuality education programmes have become popular in many regions of the world. While there is some evidence that these programmes improve knowledge and reduce self-reported risk taking, this review evaluated whether they have any impact on the number of young people that contracted STIs or on the number of adolescent pregnancies.

 Key findings

- Educational programmes alone probably have no effect on the number of young people infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) during adolescence.

- Giving monthly cash, or free school uniforms, to encourage students to stay in school may have no effect on the number of young people infected with HIV during adolescence.

- Giving an incentive such as a free school uniform combined with a programme of sexual and reproductive health education may reduce (sexually transmitted infections) STIs in young women, but no effect was detected for HIV or pregnancy.