Increasing the salience of risky sexual behavior: Promoting interest in HIV-antibody testing among heterosexually active young adults

Alexander J. Rothman, Kristina M. Kelly, Neil D. Weinstein, Ann O'Leary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present study examines whether making the risk associated with unsafe sexual behavior more salient would increase interest in HIV testing. The HIV-related beliefs and behaviors reported by a sample of college students were assessed both before and after they had viewed a vulnerability-oriented film about HIV/AIDS. Viewing the film heightened sexually active participants' belief that they might currently be HIV seropositive. Among participants who were currently sexually active, heightened perceptions of risk and concern about sexual behavior predicted intentions to utilize HlV testing services (controlling for initial risk perceptions and behavior). Those who engaged in behaviors related to HIV testing during the 4-week period after the film had expressed stronger HIV intentions and more pronounced feelings of anxiety and concern about prior sexual behavior. These results suggest that risk-enhancing interventions can stimulate interest in HIV testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)531-551
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume29
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1999

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