Delphi Study: HIV/AIDS and the Athletic Population

J Athl Train. 1994 Jun;29(2):114-9.


Recent announcements in the news of HIV/AIDS contraction by famous sports figures have focused world attention on the fact that athletes are not immune to this deadly virus. In view of this, we reviewed the literature to examine what studies have been directed specifically at the athletic population and HIV/AIDS. Unfortunately, because of the relatively new nature of this problem, little data exists for examination. A panel of experts was assembled to participate in a Delphi methodology project. This educational study was designed to examine three issues surrounding the athletic community and HIV/AIDS. The three questions examined in this study were: 1) should medical testing be undertaken within the athletic community to determine exposure to the virus; 2) if testing is undertaken, what privacy/confidentiality measures should be incorporated to protect the individual and the results of the test; and 3) what educational interventions should be developed and implemented to help the athlete understand the disease and prevent the spread. The responses from the Delphi participants indicate that the HIV/AIDS dilemma is a societal issue and should not single out a segment of the population-in this case the athletic community. The panel also indicated that privacy and confidentiality are crucial in protecting the individual athlete and test results. The development and implementation of educational interventions is the most important component in the entire issue of HIV/AIDS and the athletic community.