The aim of this volume is to present cross-national analyses of key data on sexual behaviour and attitudes towards HIV/AIDS from 16 population surveys carried out in 11 European countries between 1989 and 1993. It is the second book to come out of a European Concerted Action on sexual behaviour and the risks of HIV infection supported by the EU Biomedical and Health Research Programme (BIOMED). The first volume, Sexual Interactions and HIV Risk (L. Van Campenhoudt, M. Cohen, G. Guizzardi and D. Hausser, Eds), published in 1997 in this same series examined new conceptual perspectives for understanding risk behaviour.
In order to understand how the authors were able to bring together such a large diversity of survey contents and methods and performed their cross-national analyses, the reader should start with the first chapter of this book, which also presents the main characteristics of the surveys under comparison. The different contributions are then divided into four parts. The first part provides basic information on sexual behaviour in Europe in the era of AIDS. Whereas AIDS provides the context rather than the focus of analysis in this first section, Part 2 is primarily epidemiological and is devoted to the measurement of exposure to sexual transmission of HIV using survey data. Part 3 focuses on preventive practices and the normative context that surrounds them. Finally, Part 4 discusses the specific issues of knowledge and representations of HIV/AIDS and their relation to discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS. The book closes with a chapter that summarizes some of the findings and brings together some of the lessons for HIV/AIDS prevention and future research that may be drawn from the various comparative analyses.
Designing, processing and publishing such comparative analyses was a long-running project that started in 1991. Three main stages were needed to develop the analyses described in this book. First, the objectives, tasks and working procedures for the project were determined by the Centre d’études sociologiques (CES) of the Brussels-based Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis, which coordinated this project, aided by a steering committee. Then, the investigators who carried out the different surveys were asked to act as data