Purpose: To improve the effectiveness of behavioral interventions for Hispanic young adults, we studied their perceived risks for HIV infection, lifetime and more recent sexual experiences, use of condoms, and HIV-antibody testing histories.
Methods: Logistic regression was used to analyze computer-assisted telephone-interview surveys of 1,596 randomly selected Hispanic residents of 12 high AIDS-incidence ZIP-code areas.
Results: After we controlled for gender, age, marital status, educational attainment, and language of preference, differences were found by country of origin. Those coming from Peru (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]=3.45; 95%CI=1.85-6.43) and Colombia (AOR=1.94; 95%CI=1.12-3.36) were more likely than U.S.-native Hispanics to perceive their risk of acquiring HIV as above average. Sexually active Mexicans (AOR=1.80; 95%CI=1.04-3.10) were significantly more likely than U.S. natives to have used a condom in the past 12 months. Young adults coming from Puerto Rico (AOR=0.55; 95%CI=0.33-0.91) were less likely than U.S.-native Hispanics to have ever been tested for HIV. Virginity and sexual abstinence were unrelated to country of origin, but respondents interviewed in Spanish were more likely than those interviewed in English to be sexually active (AOR=2.57; 95%=1.39-4.75).
Conclusions: To maximize the impact of behavioral interventions, risk-reduction programs must adjust for social and cultural differences within the Hispanic-American population.