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Ethn Dis. 2008 Spring;18(2 Suppl 2):S2-146-50.

Changes in HIV/AIDS knowledge among early adolescents in Puerto Rico.

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  • 1Retrovirus Research Center, Internal Medicine Department, Universidad Central del Caribe, Bayamón, Puerto Rico, USA.



One of the factors that influences HIV risk behavior among early adolescents is their HIV/AIDS knowledge. The objectives of this study were 1) to describe the sociodemographic features and HIV/AIDS knowledge among Puerto Rican early adolescents participating in the ASUMA (A Supportive Model for HIV Risk Reduction in Early Adolescents) project; and 2) to assess changes in the knowledge of HIV/AIDS within the intervention and nonintervention groups after the first year of the study.


This is a prospective cohort study of 173 early adolescents after 12 months of participation in the ASUMA project. The setting of the study was four junior high schools. Baseline and follow-up self-administered questionnaires were issued to the entire study group. The first workshop was developed directed to increase HIV/AIDS knowledge and decrease vulnerability in the group assigned to the intervention. Descriptive and inferential analyses were performed.


47% of adolescents were cases and 52.6% controls. Most adolescents were 12 years old; 50.3% were boys and 49.7% were girls; 78.6% believe that they could have a good conversation with their parents; and 26.3% reported alcohol use at any time in their lives. A significant increase in HIV/AIDS knowledge was found among adolescents from the intervention group (P < .001), while a nonsignificant increase was found among control adolescents.


An increase in HIV/AIDS knowledge was observed among adolescents who participated in the first year of the ASUMA project. This study illustrates the importance of the creation of culturally appropriate instruments and interventions to reduce HIV infection in adolescents.

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