College students' knowledge and attitudes about AIDS and changes in HIV-preventive behaviors

R. J. DiClemente, K. A. Forrest, S. Mickler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Data were collected from 1,127 students at geographically diverse universities and colleges in the United States to assess students' knowledge and attitudes about AIDS and self-reported changes in HIV-preventive behaviors. The findings indicate that while students demonstrate a high level of knowledge with respect to AIDS transmission they are also likely to possess many misconceptions about casual contact as a route of HIV transmission. HIV-related sexual risk-taking behavior was also substantial. A large proportion of students report never using condoms during sexual intercourse and having had multiple sexual partners during the year preceding the survey. A significant proportion of students report increasing health-protective behavior, although identification of the magnitude of these changes was not attained. Knowledge of AIDS transmission was not related to behavior change, although perceived risk of HIV infection was strongly associated with a self-reported increase in health-protective behaviors. The findings suggest that college students, while knowledgeable about AIDS and reporting marked behavioral changes, possess many misconceptions about casual contact and have a high prevalence of sexual risk-taking behaviors. The development of HIV prevention education programs for the college population is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-212
Number of pages12
JournalAIDS Education and Prevention
Volume2
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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