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AIDS Care. 2012;24(1):87-90. doi: 10.1080/09540121.2011.582478. Epub 2011 Jun 28.

Prevention messages and AIDS risk behavior in Kampala, Uganda.

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Family and Community Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA.


Uganda was one of the first countries to substantially reduce HIV rates through behavior change, but these gains have not continued in recent years. Little is known about what messages Ugandans are currently hearing about AIDS prevention, what they themselves believe to be important prevention strategies, and how these beliefs are associated with behavior. We interviewed men and women aged between 20 and 39 in two poor peri-urban areas of Kampala, using a random sample, cross-sectional household survey design. Respondents provided detailed reports of sexual behavior over the past six months, the main prevention message they are currently hearing about AIDS, and their own ranking of the importance of prevention strategies. Condom use was the main AIDS prevention message that respondents reported hearing, followed by getting tested. These were also what respondents themselves considered most important, followed closely by faithfulness. Abstinence was the lowest ranked strategy, but a higher ranking for this prevention strategy was the only one consistently associated with less risky behavior. A higher ranking for condoms was associated with higher levels of risk behavior, while the ranking of testing made no difference in any behavior. These results present challenges for AIDS prevention strategies that rely primarily on promoting condoms and testing. HIV prevention programs need to assess their impact on behavior.

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