Low HIV/AIDS Knowledge among Hispanic Adolescents. Article

Míguez, María José, Espinoza, Luis A, Vargas, Mayra E et al. (2015). Low HIV/AIDS Knowledge among Hispanic Adolescents. . 6(7), 483. 10.4172/2155-6113.1000483

cited authors

  • Míguez, María José; Espinoza, Luis A; Vargas, Mayra E; Perez, Caroline; Ergon, Emma; Tarter, Ralph


  • Introduction

    Hispanic adolescents domiciling in Florida rank second in the U.S. with respect to HIV/AIDS incidence and prevalence. Extending studies showing that risky sexual behavior is associated with limited access to information, this project surveyed knowledge about HIV etiology, prevention and treatment.


    The sample consisted of 400 Hispanic youth between 11-18 years of age living in Miami, Florida. The sample is enrolled in an ongoing project Role of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor in Decision Making (ROBIM). The HIV Knowledge Questionnaire (HIV-KQ-18), an 18 item self-administered questionnaire was used to measure HIV knowledge, particularly transmission and prevention.


    Less than 10% of the sample had comprehensive knowledge about HIV/AIDS. Approximately 25% incorrectly answered all of the questions. Questions pertaining to transmission were incorrectly answered by more than half of the sample. The most frequent topics reflecting absence of knowledge are related to high-risk sexual behaviors (sex during the menses) and infection prevention methods (e.g. condoms). A majority of youth believed incorrectly that HIV could be cured (61%), an effective vaccine is available (61%), and antibiotics protect against HIV infection (76%). School (28%) and parents (26%) were the most frequent sources of knowledge about HIV/AIDS. However, youth receiving information from parents had significantly higher knowledge scores than peers receiving education in school (7.4 ± 4.15 vs. 6.1 ± 4.5 scores, p = 0.037). Yet, 68% of the sample had never discussed condom use with their parents.


    These findings indicate Hispanic youths, although at very high risk, are poorly informed about prevention of HIV/AIDS. Moreover, the most frequent source of information, namely schools, inculcates less knowledge than parents. Lastly, youths who discuss sex with parents do not typically dialog about condoms, the most readily available protection from HIV/AIDS. These findings identify gaps that need to be addressed for lowering the high rate of HIV infection in Hispanic youths.

publication date

  • January 1, 2015

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


  • Print-Electronic

start page

  • 483


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