Adolescents and AIDS: Knowledge and Attitude

By Steitz, Jean A.; Munn, Judith A. | Adolescence, Fall 1993 | Go to article overview

Adolescents and AIDS: Knowledge and Attitude


Steitz, Jean A., Munn, Judith A., Adolescence


Primary prevention of AIDS remains uncoordinated, underfunded, and limited in scope because of public perception that there is no generalized threat of AIDS in the mainstream population (Bowser, 1991). However, as a result of the Magic Johnson tragedy, the public may begin to realize that the demographics of AIDS has changed greatly since its first recognition in 1981. What was thought to be strictly a homosexual disease is now known to be spreading rapidly among the heterosexual population. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), AIDS is presently spreading fastest among the 24- to 30-year-old heterosexual population (CDC, 1989). People who engage in unprotected sexual activities or share needles when taking drugs intravenously are known to be at highest risk. Many adolescents fit this description (DiClemente, 1990; DiClemente, Boyer, & Morales, 1988; DiClemente, Zorn, & Temoshok, 1986).

One question asked is: If adolescents are engaging so actively in AIDS-spreading behaviors, why have only about 1% of the total reported AIDS cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control (1989), been among persons younger than 20? One reason is that AIDS has a long latency period--one to seven years (Curran, Morgan, Hardy, Jaffe, Darrow, & Dowdle, 1985). Hence, many people who develop the disease in their 20s came in contact with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) while in their teens. As adolescents continue to engage in unprotected sex and to use drugs intravenously, the problem will grow.

As stated by the National Academy of Science, youth need to be taught how to engage in healthy behaviors and protect themselves against HIV infection in order to prevent the further spread of AIDS (Miller, Turner, & Moses, 1990). Since schools reach 95% of U.S. youth, it makes sense for them to conduct the bulk of preventive AIDS education (Kerr, Allensworth, & Gayle, 1989; Price, Desmond, & Kukulka, 1985). The CDC has established guidelines for AIDS education (Tolsma, 1988), and many school districts have quickly developed and implemented AIDS curricula (Brown & Fritz, 1988; DiClemente, 1989; Remafedi, 1988). However, little research has assessed the effectiveness of these programs (Brown, Nassau, & Barone, 1990; King, Beazley, Warren, Hankins, Robertson, & Radford, 1989). Further, few studies have assessed adolescents' knowledge of AIDS, and almost no studies have looked at the effects on adolescents' attitudes of knowledge gained as a result of an AIDS education program.

Surveys of adolescents' baseline knowledge about AIDS indicate a general increase since 1985 and suggest grade level differences, with older students having more knowledge. However, the surveys also indicate large gaps in information that can place adolescents at continued risk. Price et al. (1985) assessed the level of AIDS knowledge in 256 16- to 19-year-old students in Ohio. They found that only 3 of 19 questions were answered correctly by 75% or more of the participants. The students were most likely to know that people are not born with AIDS, AIDS victims are likely to die, and homosexuals are likely to get the disease. The findings could have been due to the fact that in 1985 the AIDS virus was still largely associated with the homosexual population and that the adolescent population remained unconcerned. It was also found that, for some of the questions, boys were more likely than girls to answer correctly.

In a Massachusetts study using 860 students 16 to 19 years of age, Strunin and Hingson (1987) found that only 2 out of 9 questions on HIV transmission were answered correctly by 75% or more of the participants. The students were misinformed or confused about AIDS, and most had little understanding of the modes of HIV transmission. It was also found that knowledge did not guarantee an effect on behavior; of the 70% who reported being sexually active, only 15% indicated that they had modified their behavior. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Adolescents and AIDS: Knowledge and Attitude
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.