Wednesday, January 9, 2008

HIV

By Sudipa Sarkar
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) defined as a condition in which the immune system begins to fail, leading to life-threatening contamination. The main transmission routes of HIV include (1) Sexual Contact, (2) Exposure to infected body fluids and (3) Mother-to-Child transmission (MTCT). Current paper focuses on the psychological behavior associated with HIV prevention considering the factors related to sexual and mother-child-transmission with the help of two theories – (I) The theory of reasoned action (TRA) and (II) the theory of planned behavior (TPB). Both of these two theories help in examining the behavior associated with the intention to use condom and actual condom use in adolescents as a prevention measure against HIV-AIDS by establishing a relationship between perceived self-efficacy and use of protective measures.

The theories assume that the individuals must have perceived self-efficacy with regard to the behavior, which implies that the individual must be capable of performing the specific behavior successfully under a number of circumstances and also the individual must possess a positive expectancy in accordance to their behavior.

Villaruel A.M, Jemmott JB III, Jemmot LS, et al (2004) indicates in their studies that attitudes, subjective norms, self-efficacy, partner and parental approval, and impulse-control beliefs were significant predictors of intentions to use condoms as preventive measure among the 12-18 years old participants, the majority of whom were not sexually active at baseline. Several studies also confirmed that people with low self-efficacy tend to get involved in high-risk sexual activities.

In this applied study, the data reveals that there are no group differences for unprotected vaginal intercourse, whereas adolescent mothers show more intention to use condom indicating more condom-use behavior after 3months evaluation period and less unprotected sex at 6 months follow-up. But this study is limited in its generalization of using population sample, which need to be approached more comprehensively by considering the factors such as poverty, communal violence, sexual abuse, substance abuse, social oppression, gender influence, social stigma, etc., which may have a profound effect on the lives of adolescent mother and on their decision-making process.
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