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HIV Risk Reduction Among Young Adult Chronic Psychiatric Patients

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Technical Report

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Uniformed Services University Of The Health Sciences Bethesda United States

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This study investigated the manipulation of fear as part of a health message developed to reduce the risk of HIV infection among young adult chronic psychiatric patients. Subjects in the present study were provided access to tokens to obtain condoms from condom vending machines that had been installed on the units where they live. A total of 73 subjects participated in this study. Token use data were collected over a two week baseline period. Following the two week baseline, a pretest was administered which included self-reports of sexual activity over the two week baseline period, pre-test measures of knowledge regarding AIDS, pretest measures of various health belief variables including the perceived risk vulnerability of HIV infection, perceived efficacy of using condoms to reduce risk of HIV infection, perceived barriers to adopting HIV risk reducing behavior, perceptions concerning social network characteristics supportive of adoption of HIV risk reduction, and general health motivation. General fear of AIDS and general fear of illness were also assessed. The interventions were then administered and followed by post-test measures of the same measures taken during the pre-test. Two weeks later, 8 follow-up was conducted. Tokens for condoms continued to be distributed during the two weeks after the intervention until the follow-up. The major hypothesis of this study was that high fear would more be more effective in modifying behavior and health beliefs. Overall, the results of the study failed to demonstrate that high fear arousal was more effective than low fear arousal in producing behavioral changes as measured by token use over the four week period or changes in health beliefs regarding AIDS. Results, however, suggest that among this sample, low fear arousal may be more effective than high fear arousal in increasing knowledge about the threat of HIV infection and subsequently reducing general fear of AIDS.

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