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Health Educ Res. 1994 Jun;9(2):171-81.

Changing Swedish students' attitudes in relation to the AIDS epidemic.

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Department of Education, Lund University, Sweden.


In the present study we have evaluated the knowledge, attitudes and intention to act in relation to HIV/AIDS related issues among Swedish students aged 15-18 years. An intervention group (n = 368) and a comparison group (n = 180) were followed for 2 years between 1989 and 1991. The teachers of the intervention group were obliged to specifically give a continuous and in-depth education while the comparison group received ordinary traditional education. We present the results from questionnaires given to all students before and after the study. There was a significant increase in knowledge of facts in the intervention group, and also changes in attitudes towards, for example, gay people, drug users and HIV infected individuals, in a desirable direction. In sex related issues there was also a desirable change in intention to act, but this was not seen in students' relation to alcohol. No significant changes at all in knowledge, attitudes or intention to act were seen in the comparison group. Our results show that it is indeed possible to influence students' attitudes and intention to act in HIV/AIDS related issues provided teachers start by defining the students' central conceptions and their relation to each other, and promote individual thinking and reflection.

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