Prevention Science

, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 544–553 | Cite as

AMP!: A Cross-site Analysis of the Effects of a Theater-based Intervention on Adolescent Awareness, Attitudes, and Knowledge about HIV

  • Tamara TaggartEmail author
  • Arianna Taboada
  • Judith A. Stein
  • Norweeta G. Milburn
  • David Gere
  • Alexandra F. Lightfoot


AMP! (Arts-based, Multiple component, Peer-education) is an HIV intervention developed for high school adolescents. AMP! uses interactive theater-based scenarios developed by trained college undergraduates to deliver messages addressing HIV/STI prevention strategies, healthy relationships, and stigma reduction towards people living with HIV/AIDS. We used a pre-test/post-test, control group study design to simultaneously assess intervention effect on ninth grade students in an urban county in California (N = 159) and a suburban county in North Carolina (N = 317). In each location, the control group received standard health education curricula delivered by teachers; the intervention group received AMP! in addition to standard health education curricula. Structural equation modeling was used to determine intervention effects. The post-test sample was 46 % male, 90 % self-identified as heterosexual, 32 % reported receiving free or reduced lunch, and 49 % White. Structural models indicated that participation in AMP! predicted higher scores on HIV knowledge (p = 0.05), HIV awareness (p = 0.01), and HIV attitudes (p = 0.05) at the post-test. Latent means comparison analyses revealed post-test scores were significantly higher than pre-test scores on HIV knowledge (p = 0.001), HIV awareness (p = 0.001), and HIV attitudes (p = 0.001). Further analyses indicated that scores rose for both groups, but the post-test scores of intervention participants were significantly higher than controls (HIV knowledge (p = 0.01), HIV awareness (p = 0.01), and HIV attitudes (p = 0.05)). Thus, AMP!’s theater-based approach shows promise for addressing multiple adolescent risk factors and attitudes concerning HIV in school settings.


HIV prevention Adolescents Sexual health Stigma reduction 



The authors would like to acknowledge Robert Gordon for his leadership in the intervention delivery at both sites. The authors would also like to thank the youth who participated in this study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

All data were collected as part of Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved studies directed by the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


This work was supported by a developmental grant from the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) NIH funded program P30 AI50410, the AIDS Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), UCLA Center for AIDS Research (AI28697), the UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute, NCRR and NCATS (UL1TR000124), and National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences UCLA CTSI Grant UL1TR000124. Additional support was provided by The Ford Foundation (Grant 1120-1496), the David and Linda Shaheen Foundation, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and the Ueltschi course development grant from the University of North Carolina’s Center for Public Service’s APPLES Service-Learning Program. The participation of research assistant and doctoral candidate Tamara Taggart was supported by a fellowship from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (Award Number T32AI007001).


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Copyright information

© Society for Prevention Research 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tamara Taggart
    • 1
    Email author
  • Arianna Taboada
    • 2
  • Judith A. Stein
    • 2
  • Norweeta G. Milburn
    • 3
  • David Gere
    • 2
  • Alexandra F. Lightfoot
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public HealthUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC)Chapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Art & Global Health CenterUniversity of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)Los AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human BehaviorUniversity of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)Los AngelesUSA
  4. 4.Center for Health Promotion and Disease PreventionUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC)Chapel HillUSA

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