Changes in adolescents' knowledge and attitudes about AIDS over the course of the AIDS epidemic

Gregory D. Zimet, Ralph J. Diclemente, Rina Lazebnik, Trina M. Anglin, Elise M. Ellick, Paul Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


We compared AIDS-related attitudes of junior and senior high school students from 1988 to 1991 and across grade level to examine how effectively schools are addressing AIDS. Attitudes measured included knowledge and social anxiety about AIDS, as well as perceptions of vulnerability to HIV infection. Junior high school students (grades 7-9) were sampled three times, from 1989 to 1991. High school students (grades 10-12) were sampled four times, from 1988 to 1991. The 1991 junior high school sample had lower AIDS knowledge scores than the 1989 sample. Conversely, the 1991 high school sample had more accurate knowledge than earlier groups. With respect to grade level, 9th graders had more accurate knowledge than 7th and 8th graders, but knowledge did not increase from 10th through 12th grade. Anxiety about interacting with a person with AIDS and perceptions of vulnerability to HIV infection were unrelated to either sampling time or grade level. It is concluded that it will be important to redouble efforts to educate adolescents about AIDS and that particular attention needs to be paid to young adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-90
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome HIV Infection Knowledge
  • Attitudes
  • Practice Adolescents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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