Psychosocial Correlates of HIV Risk Behavior in Adolescent Girls

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ObjectiveTo present the preintervention data collected for a pilot HIV-prevention randomized controlled trial specifically developed for single, sexually active adolescent girls.DesignComparative, descriptive design using confidential self-administered questionnaires.SettingAn urban family planning clinic that provided gynecologic services to adolescents.ParticipantsOne hundred twenty-nine single, sexually active adolescent girls 15 to 19 years of age (44% minority, 34% economically disadvantaged).Main Outcome MeasuresIn addition to demographics and risk behaviors, the following were assessed: HIV-related information (i.e., knowledge) and motivation to reduce risk (i.e., perceived vulnerability, readiness to change HIV risk behaviors, behavioral intentions, pros and cons of condom use, and confidence in condom use).ResultsAssessments revealed limited HIV-related knowledge, ambivalence regarding risk reduction, and considerable risk behaviors. Compared with girls at lower risk for HIV infection (i.e., consistent condom users), those at higher risk (i.e., inconsistent or non-condom-users) were more likely to be White and older and to have better HIV-related knowledge but less motivation to reduce risk (i.e., behavioral intentions to use condoms, condom-use confidence) than girls at lower risk.ConclusionThese data document (a) the need for HIV prevention interventions targeted to all sexually active adolescent girls and (b) the importance of including a motivational component in the intervention.

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