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March 1990

Are Adolescents Getting Smarter About Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome?Changes in Knowledge and Attitude Over the Past 5 Years

Author Affiliations

From the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

Am J Dis Child. 1990;144(3):302-306. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1990.02150270052025

• A survey was administered to 1543 adolescents from southeastern Wisconsin to assess their knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs regarding acquired immmunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and persons with the disease. Responses were compared with those of other studies involving adolescents using identical or similar test items. Results of the study demonstrate that knowledge of AIDS and of the modes of human immunodeficiency virus transmission have increased dramatically over the past 5 years. Ninety-eight percent of high school students in this study understood the modes of transmission and that merely touching a person with AIDS will not transmit the virus. However, results also revealed that many negative biases remain toward people who have been infected with human immunodeficiency virus. Forty-five percent of the students believed that homosexuals and intravenous drug users were "getting what they deserve." Recommendations are made that future educational efforts focus on changes in attitudes and behaviors in relation to adolescents' previously acquired knowledge of AIDS.

(AJDC. 1990;144:302-306)

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