AIDS Risk Reduction Strategies Among United States and Swedish Heterosexual University Students

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Attitudes toward sex and condoms in the U.S. are more negative and less monolithic than in Sweden. We investigated the possible effect of this on AIDS prevention strategies by comparing women and men who were heterosexual university students in the two countries (Sweden: n = 570; U.S.: n = 407). Using self-administered questionnaires, subjects were asked about their sexual activities, safer sex practices, numbers of partners, and condom use. American students took a more multifaceted approach to safer sex—combining changes in sexual activities, reductions in casual sex, and increased condom use with both steady and nonsteady partners. Swedish students took a more singular approach—consistently using condoms with nonsteady partners. It is suggested that the difference in Swedish practices results from fundamental differences in sexual attitudes between the countries.

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