Adolescents and AIDS: Current Research, Prevention Strategies, and Policy Implications
Ralph J. DiClemente School of Medicine Department of Epidemiology and International Health University of California
Since its recognition in 1981 ( Gottlieb, Schroff, Schanker, Weisman, Fan, Wolf, & Saxon, 1981; Masur, Michelis, Greene, Onorato, Vande Stouwe, Holzman, Wormser, Brettman, Lange, Murray, & Cunningham-Rundles, 1981; Siegal, Lopez, Hammer, Brown, Kornfeld, Gold, Hassett, Hirschman, Cunningham-Rundles, Adelsberg, Parham, Siegal, Cunningham-Rundles, & Armstrong, 1981), acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) has rapidly become a serious problem which has spread to all continents of the world ( DiClemente, Boyer, Mills, & Helquist, 1988). Recent advances in anti-retroviral therapies have produced promising, new therapeutic agents ( Yarchoan & Broder, 1987), although, at present, there is no cure for AIDS.
Attributable, in large part, to the lack of an effective therapy for the disease, primary prevention has become increasingly more important in combating the AIDS epidemic ( Stone, Grimes, & Magder, 1986). In the United States, as well as abroad, primary prevention programs are being developed stressing reduction in risk behaviors associated with the transmission of the pathogenic agent, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). One group, adolescents, may require more intensive health education concerning the cause, transmission, and especially the prevention of HIV infection. This chapter examines the scope of the problem for adolescents and, based on this assessment, suggests specific recommendations for the development and implementation of HIV prevention strategies and public policy.