Journal of Social Sciences

CHANGE OVER TIME IN THE HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS RISK PERCEPTIONS OF YOUTH

Ann M. Beutel and Kermyt G. Anderson

DOI : 10.3844/jssp.2013.1.10

Journal of Social Sciences

Volume 9, Issue 1

Pages 1-10

Abstract

Although the vulnerability of young people to HIV/AIDS continues to be a serious concern in South Africa, no research has used a representative sample of South African youth to examine whether individual Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) risk perceptions change over time and, if they do, what factors are associated with change. Using data from the Cape Area Panel Study, a multi-racial, longitudinal study of youth and their households, this study examined whether youth change their HIV risk perceptions over a four-year period and whether sexual behaviors, knowing someone with HIV, gender and race are associated with any change. Overall, changes in HIV risk perceptions tend to be small. As predicted, sexual activity is associated with increases in risk perceptions. Contrary to predictions, condom use at last sex is associated with increases in risk perceptions and knowing someone with HIV is associated with decreases in risk perceptions. In addition, there is variation by gender and by race in the factors associated with change in risk perceptions. This study serves as an initial examination of change in the HIV risk perceptions of South African youth; further investigation of their HIV risk perceptions over time is needed.

Copyright

© 2013 Ann M. Beutel and Kermyt G. Anderson. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.