College Students' Knowledge About AIDS and Attitudes Toward Condom Use

Authors

  • Marlene K. Strader R.N., Ph.D.,

    Corresponding author
    1. Marlene Strader is Associate Professor and Margaret Beaman is Assistant Professor at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, School of Nursing.
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  • Margaret L. Beaman R.N., Ph.D.

    1. Marlene Strader is Associate Professor and Margaret Beaman is Assistant Professor at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, School of Nursing.
    Search for more papers by this author

Address correspondence to Marlene Strader, School of Nursing, Box 1066, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, IL 62026-1066.

Abstract

College students were surveyed to determine their knowledge about AIDS and attitudes toward condom use. Overall scores were high, with a mean of 22.5 on the 28-item true-false questionnaire. Of the 81 percent of respondents who indicated they were presently or had been sexually active, only 40 percent reported using condoms; 87 percent expressed an intention to have vaginal intercourse and 18 percent to have rectal intercourse. From the open-ended questions about condoms, 37 beliefs were elicited and the 10 most frequently mentioned were identified. The majority of subjects reported protection against sexually transmitted diseases and preventing pregnancy as the most important reasons for using condoms. Forty-seven percent also believed condoms important for preventing AIDS. Other significant beliefs about condom use included that they cause less worry, interfere with spontaneous sexual response, decrease pleasure for self and/or partner, are inconvenient and uncomfortable, and decrease feeling. The most significant referents for deciding about condom use were mothers in younger subjects and sexual partners for older subjects. These results indicate the need for influencing attitudes and normative beliefs to change condom use behavior.

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