Int Conf AIDS. 1989 Jun 4-9;5:711 (abstract no. M.D.P.6). Unique
OBJECTIVE: To describe the interactions of knowledge,attitudes, and
self-reported behaviors relevant to AIDS prevention in an ethnically
diverse group of junior high school students from a major AIDS
epicenter, as background for a new 12 - hour educational curriculum
currently being implemented. METHODS: In June 1988, 1,940 students in 3
junior high schools (grades 7-9) in Oakland, California completed an
anonymous written questionnaire regarding their AIDS knowledge,
attitudes and high risk behaviors. RESULTS: Age ranged from 11 - 16
years; 48% were male. Five % were White, 31% Black, 24% Latino and 33%
Asian. Factual knowledge about AIDS varied little by ethnic group or
gender, eg. knowing that others beside homosexual men get AIDS (89%),
there is no cure (74%), and it is likely to get AIDS from sharing
needles (85%) or through sexual intercourse without condoms (85%).
Misperceptions included thinking it likely to get AIDS from giving blood
(51%), insects (36%), or public toilets (28%). Only 55% felt that
persons with AIDS should attend school, with those holding
misperceptions about casual contact more likely to hold this opinion.
Eight- nine % wanted AIDS education in school. Concerning high risk
behaviors, more boys (42%) than girls (18%) engaged in sexual
intercourse. Fifty-three % agreed that Sex doesn't feel as good with
condoms and 56% felt that condoms are embarrassing to buy. Among
sexually active individuals, more who thought that condoms work
perfectly (79%) or pretty well (65%) in preventing AIDS reported using
condoms always (79%) or sometimes (65%) during sexual intercourse v.
those who thought condoms work only a little (47%). Few students (5%)
reported using street drugs, but of those, more girls (21/31) did so
than boys (31/56). CONCLUSIONS: Junior high school students have
substantial factual knowledge about AIDS but harbor misperceptions about
casual contact. Those with misperceptions are more likely to engage in
high risk behaviors and to express intolerance toward those with HIV.
Early and middle adolescents should be taught about AIDS, with emphasis
on preventing or modifying high risk behaviors, improving tolerance, and
correcting false impressions.
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome/*PREVENTION & CONTROL/ PSYCHOLOGY
Adolescence California/EPIDEMIOLOGY Female Human *Knowledge,
Attitudes, Practice Male Questionnaires Risk Factors Schools *Sex
Behavior Sex Education ABSTRACT