The FOCUS program
was originally delivered to young women US Marine Corps recruits.
This four-session cognitive-behavioral group intervention addressed
preventing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and unintended pregnancies.
Following a baseline survey and self-administered vaginal swab (for
STDs), 2,157 women were voluntarily randomized into either the experimental
group (n=1,062) or the control group (n=1,095) during their first
week of recruit training. Both experimental and control groups received
interventions of four two-hour sessions, delivered during the first,
second, fourth and twelfth weeks of recruit training.
At first follow-up, approximately one month after completing the intervention,
80.8% (n=1,743) of the original sample participated. At second follow-up,
approximately 14 months after the intervention, 64% (n=1,381) of the
original sample took part.
The evaluation results revealed that a higher proportion of the control
group had a post-intervention STD or unintended pregnancy (Odds Ratio
= 1.41, 95% Confidence Interval = 1.01-1.98). Among participants who
had no history of STDs or pregnancy, but who engaged in risky sexual
behaviors just before recruit training, the control group was more
likely to acquire a post-intervention STD (OR = 2.05, CI = 1.74-4.08),
and have had multiple sexual partners (OR = 1.87, CI = 1.01-3.47)
FOCUS is suitable
for use in group or class settings in clinics, community-based organizations,
or schools/colleges . It should be noted, however, that the subject
matter is mature and in some cases quite graphic in nature, and may
not be appropriate for participants under the age of 16.
The original intervention
sample included 2,157 young women, aged 17 or older; approx. 90% of
the sample was 22 or younger.
More than half of the participants (56%) were Caucasian, 19.7%
were Latina, 16.1% were African
American, and about 5% were “Other.”
intervention was implemented in two-hour segments. However, each segment
is divided into several discrete modules, allowing implementation
in shorter segments if necessary.
In the original
implementation of FOCUS, the intervention was facilitated by two research
assistants with groups of 20-25 participants. In your milieu, you
may wish to consider conducting the intervention with health educators,
or other women facilitators who are both familiar and comfortable
with the mature subject matter.