AIDS-related stigma and attitudes towards AIDS-infected people among adolescents

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This research examined the co-occurrence of accurate and inaccurate knowledge about HIV transmission among adolescents. Analyses were also conducted to examine the way in which variables related to demographic factors, personal characteristics, parent and peer relationships, and school involvement are associated with attitudes towards HIV/ AIDS-infected people. Social and psychological processes that contribute to AIDS-related stigma are also described. Methods. Data were collected from the Portuguese sample of the 'Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children - 2002 - a collaborative WHO study'. The study provided data representative of 6137 Portuguese adolescents at national level. Based on these results, we conducted 14 focus groups discussions. Results. Adolescents presented high levels of knowledge about HIV transmission. However, the proportion of young people who hold misperceptions is also high. A multiple regression analysis identified several associations with attitudes towards HIV-infected persons. The focus groups showed that adolescents believe that people with AIDS experienced discrimination and social exclusion. Adolescents' opinions for HIV-infected persons were mostly positive and tolerant, although some adolescents showed an ambivalent attitude and undefined fears. Conclusion. These findings have significant implications to implement and design comprehensive interventions with impact in adolescents' attitudes towards people with HIV/AIDS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-214
Number of pages7
JournalAids Care-Psychological And Socio-Medical Aspects Of Aids/Hiv
VolumeVol. 18
Issue numbern.º 3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2006


  • Health behavior
  • Human
  • Acquired immune deficiency syndrome
  • Adolescent
  • Attitude to AID
  • Sconference paper
  • Female
  • Human immunodeficiency virus infected patien
  • Social isolation
  • Virus transmission
  • Male
  • Normal human
  • Portugal
  • Priority journal
  • Social attitude
  • Social discrimination
  • Prejudice

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