Effect of HIV antibody testing and AIDS education on communication about HIV risk and sexual behavior. A randomized, controlled trial in college students

Ann Intern Med. 1992 Dec 1;117(11):905-11. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-117-11-905.


Objective: To evaluate the effects of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) antibody testing and education about HIV infection on communication about sexual risk behaviors for HIV transmission.

Design: Randomized, controlled trial with three arms.

Setting: University student health center.

Patients: Of 2196 heterosexual university students attending the student health clinic for medical care, 435 were interested in education about HIV and HIV testing and were randomly assigned to three groups. Follow-up at 6 months was done in 370 subjects (85%): 90 control subjects, 144 subjects who received education alone, and 136 subjects who received education plus HIV testing.

Measurements and results: Subjects who received HIV testing plus education questioned sexual partners about their HIV status more than subjects receiving education alone or those in the control group (56%, 42%, and 41% of subjects, respectively; P = 0.01). No consistent differences among groups in the number of sexual partners or in the use of condoms were found at follow-up.

Conclusions: Heterosexual university students who received education about HIV infection plus HIV testing had increased communication with sexual partners about the risk for HIV infection after 6 months. Further reduction in risk behaviors for HIV transmission may require additional interventions in this population.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Serodiagnosis / psychology*
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / prevention & control*
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / psychology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Communication
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Education*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Sexual Partners
  • Students / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires