In recent years, the prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) has dramatically increased in many segments of our population, including adolescents. Specific subgroups of adolescents have been identified as being at increased risk of acquiring HIV infection due to their high-risk behaviors and lack of basic knowledge regarding AIDS. Using a 50-item AIDS questionnaire, this study surveyed the AIDS knowledge and attitudes of 220 adolescents with serious emotional disturbance (SED), a group particularly vulnerable to HIV infection. Although the majority of the students knew the main modes of HIV transmission, the students' ages and race were related to their level of knowledge, and there were a number of common misconceptions reported by the students. In terms of students' attitudes toward behaviors that might lead to HIV infection and tolerance of those with AIDS, this study found that gender, race, and age were predictive in various subscales. These findings highlight the need for comprehensive AIDS education to address the knowledge deficits and permissive attitudes regarding high-risk behavior seen in some students with SED.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health