Relationship of AIDS-related attitudes to sexual behavior changes in adolescents

Gregory D. Zimet, Debra L. Bunch, Trina M. Anglin, Rina Lazebnik, Paul Williams, Daniel P. Krowchuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Scopus citations


The impact of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic on a group of adolescents was investigated by surveying 197 sexually active, predominantly African-American, urban high school students. Reported sexual behavior changes were evaluated in relation to AIDS-related knowledge and attitudes. Over 50% of the students decreased their frequency of sexual activity, increased their condom use, and/or decreased their number of partners. These students had significantly higher scores on a measure of worry about vulnerability to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection than those whose behavior had not changed. AIDS knowledge, AIDS beliefs, and AIDS-related anxiety interacted with gender to effect sexual behavior change. Male students reporting decreased frequency of sexual activity, for example, had more accurate beliefs about AIDS than males reporting no decrease. Among female students, however, those reporting decreased frequency had less accurate beliefs than those reporting no decrease. These results highlight the importance of considering gender and specific sexual behaviors when designing AIDS education interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)493-498
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome HIV infections Knowledge
  • attitudes
  • practice Adolescent behavior Sex behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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