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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

Making Converts for Condoms


Science (06/12/92) Vol. 256, No. 5063, P. 1514

While public health efforts have overwhelmed teenagers with AIDS prevention information, studies show that sexually active teens still have not increased their use of condoms. Elliot Aronson, social psychologist of the University of California--Santa Cruz (UCSC), believes that by turning young people into advocates of safe sex, more will "practice what they preach." In a recent study by Aronson and four graduate students, a group of 72 heterosexually active students were asked to write persuasive speeches about AIDS and safe sex on the premise that they were helping with a high school education program. Half of them were videotaped while presenting their speeches to the researchers, and half of those students were asked if they had ever failed to use condoms when they knew they should have. Aronson said this prompted "cognitive dissonance"--psychological discomfort caused by behavior that does not cohere to a closely held belief. This group later reported using condoms more often and buying them in greater quantities than any of the other groups in the study. By involving students in safe sex campaigns and then quizzing them to increase their cognitive dissonance, Aronson believes that schools could implement a version of this approach.


Copyright © 1992 -CDC Prevention News Update, Publisher. All rights reserved to Information, Inc., Bethesda, MD. The CDC National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention provides the following information as a public service only. Providing synopses of key scientific articles and lay media reports on HIV/AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis does not constitute CDC endorsement. This daily update also includes information from CDC and other government agencies, such as background on Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) articles, fact sheets, press releases and announcements. Reproduction of this text is encouraged; however, copies may not be sold, and the CDC HIV/STD/TB Prevention News Update should be cited as the source of the information. Contact the sources of the articles abstracted below for full texts of the articles.

Information in this article was accurate in June 12, 1992. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.