National Health Interview Survey data on adult knowledge of AIDS in the United States.
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National Health Interview Survey data on adult knowledge of AIDS in the United States.

  • 1990 Nov-Dec

  • Source: Public Health Rep. 105(6):629-634
Filetype[PDF-1.96 MB]

  • English

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      Public Health Rep
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      Information collected with the 1989 National Health Interview Survey of AIDS Knowledge and Attitudes from a nationally representative sample of 40,609 adults was examined to determine how knowledge about AIDS varied within demographic subgroups of the population. Most adults (83 percent) had seen or heard public service announcements about AIDS in the month prior to interview, and 51 percent had read an AIDS brochure in the past. Sixty-seven percent of adults responded correctly to at least 10 of 14 general AIDS knowledge questions. Knowledge levels were higher among those who were more educated and those who had seen or heard public service announcements or had read brochures. White adults responded correctly to these questions more often than their black counterparts; non-Hispanics responded correctly more often than Hispanics (for statistical purposes, the population is divided twice, in the first instance racially and in the second, ethnically--white and black, Hispanic and non-Hispanic). Even with relatively high information levels, misperceptions about casual transmission persisted, with one-third of adults answering more than half of the questions about casual transmission incorrectly. The same population groups that had less general AIDS knowledge had more misperceptions about transmission. More than 80 percent of adults recognized that use of condoms and a monogamous relationship between two uninfected persons were effective means of preventing the spread of the AIDS virus. Seventy-four percent of adults had heard of the HIV antibody test. The data demonstrate that while awareness about AIDS in general is high, certain population subgroups have more limited knowledge and more inappropriate concerns about AIDS, particularly those in certain racial-ethnic minorities and those less educated than the general population. Efforts must continue to develop culturally sensitive and easily understood educational programs and evaluation mechanisms for these programs
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