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AIDS prevention in junior high school students in an AIDS epicenter: results of a baseline survey.
Siegel D; Lazarus N; Durbin M; Krasnovsky F; Chesney M; Kakimoto D;
September 30, 1990
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