STUDENTS JUDGMENTS OF THE RISKS OF HIV-INFECTION AS A FUNCTION OF SEXUAL PRACTICE, SEX OF TARGET AND PARTNER, AND AGE AND SEX OF STUDENT

R SPEARS*, C ABRAHAM, P SHEERAN, D ABRAMS

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Two age cohorts of male and female students (n = 311) were investigated concerning their perceptions of the HIV-related risks of various sex-related practices (unprotected vaginal, oral, and anal sex, and mutual masturbation and kissing). Participants judged the risk of these activities for either a male or a female acquiring either a new male sexual partner or a new female one. The greater risks of unprotected sex compared to other practices and the enhanced risks of these practices within gay (male-male) pairings were recognized. However low-risk activities (e.g., kissing and masturbation) were still judged riskier for gay partners than were the same practices within other sexual relationships. Sexual practices in lesbian relationships were estimated to be no less risky than those in heterosexual ones. The older cohort seemed better able than the younger to distinguish risky practices for gay male pairings, although these older participants also tended more to extend these risks to lesbian partners. Male participants more often than female ones overestimated the risks of anal penetration for heterosexual males. In general the participants were aware of the risks of different sexual practices and partner combinations, although responses also revealed stereotypic and motivational biases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-111
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of College Student Development
Volume36
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1995

Keywords

  • GENDER
  • TERMS
  • AIDS

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