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AIDS Care. 2007 Mar;19(3):392-402.

An interventionist's guide to AIDS behavioral theories.

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Department of Communication, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky 40506-0042, USA.


Although numerous individual-level AIDS behavioral theories (ABTs) exist in the literature, there is currently no consensus as to which theory is most precise in explaining or predicting HIV risk behavior. In the absence of empirical evidence favoring one ABT over another, how should an interventionist go about choosing a theory for one's particular prevention efforts? The current article provides an overview of and conceptually compares 13 ABTs in an attempt to provide guidance regarding this critical decision. A variety of criteria upon which one might judge ABTs are proposed and discussed, including empirical support for variables that make up the theory, whether or not theories are belief-based, AIDS-specific, message-based, intervention-based and behavior or behavioral-change focused. While all of the theories have strengths and weaknesses, the task for an interventionist is to choose the theory of best fit for one's particular prevention efforts. The suggestions provided in the current article may help with such a choice.

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