Change over Time in the HIV/AIDS Risk Perceptions of South African Youth

Kermyt G. Anderson, University of Oklahoma
Ann M. Beutel, University of Oklahoma

This paper examines change in perceived HIV/AIDS infection risk among youth in Cape Town, South Africa. Data come from waves 1, 3 and 4 of the Cape Area Panel Study (CAPS), a longitudinal representative sample of youth in Cape Town. We test two predictions: 1) Youth who are sexually experienced will have greater perceived HIV/AIDS risk. 2) Youth who know someone with HIV/AIDS will have greater perceived HIV/AIDS risk. Using generalized estimating equations (GEE) and ordinal logit regression, we find that being sexually active or knowing somebody with HIV/AIDS both result in increased perceived risk of HIV infection in Cape Town. Furthermore, entry into those states – either first sexual activity or first knowing somebody with HIV/AIDS – is associated with greatest increased perceived risk over time. The results suggest that risk behaviors and social networks both influence perceived HIV/AIDS risk.

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Presented in Poster Session 7