Street Smart (US)

Targeted at homeless and runaway youth, the Street Smart intervention was designed to reduce high-risk sex and drug using behaviors that can lead to HIV infection. However, 12 months after the original intervention, relapse occurred in approximately 15% of those who had previously changed their behavior, and long-term effects were only found in girls. Street Smart: Skills Maintenance addressed the problem of relapse by delivering an additional intervention post-Street Smart, Stayin’ Street Smart. Stayin’ Street Smart was a website that provided skill training, social support, informational updates, and access to an expert for consultation, including problem solving for emerging crises.

In addition to measuring the effectiveness of the maintenance intervention, Street Smart: Skills Maintenance examined the program’s effect over time on multiple problem behaviors (sex work, conduct problems, delinquency, school/employment, violence, chronic homelessness), examined the acceptability of the strategies by youth, and documented patterns of maintenance over time.


Approximately 474 homeless and runaway youth between the ages of 12-24
were recruited through community-based agencies and homeless shelters in Los Angeles, CA.

Targeted Risk Group:
Homeless and runaway youth between the ages of 12-24

Local Significance: 

Research on the use of Street Smart documented positive outcomes in reducing sexual risk behaviors among females and substance use among both male and female runaways over 2 years (Rotheram-Borus et al. 2003). Outcomes from Street Smart: Maintenance have not been published.

International Significance:

Globally, there are approximately 100 million homeless youth (UNICEF 1989). Strategies to maintain reductions in sexual risk behaviors and substance use found to be effective in homeless and runaway youth in the United Stated could be adapted to help homeless and runaway youth in other countries