Assessment of the prevalence and risk factors for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection among college students using three survey methods

Am J Epidemiol. 1991 Jan;133(1):2-8. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a115797.


To evaluate the seroprevalence and risk factors for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection among undergraduate college students, the authors simultaneously conducted three types of surveillance on a large university campus (27,902 undergraduates) in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area: a voluntary HIV-1 serosurvey with a linked risk assessment questionnaire (n = 3,394), a blinded serosurvey using blood specimens collected for routine purposes in the Student Health Center (n = 1,829), and a random sample risk assessment and case identification mail survey (n = 1,017 respondents of 3,000 solicited). The proportion of students belonging to a known risk group (a homosexual or bisexual man, intravenous drug user, or a sexual partner of a bisexual man, an HIV-1-infected person, a female prostitute, or an intravenous drug user) was 5.9% in the mail survey and 8.8% in the voluntary serosurvey. Whereas no infections were detected in the blinded serosurvey, two infected persons were identified in the mail survey (0.2%) and two in the voluntary serosurvey (0.06%), all among high-risk persons. Although derived from independent samples and subject to different biases, these three survey methods yielded a consistent pattern of HIV-1 epidemiology on this campus, whereby the overall prevalence of infection was low and confined to members of high-risk groups, despite the common occurrence of behaviors that might facilitate sexual transmission of HIV-1 among many other students.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection / classification*
  • Data Collection / statistics & numerical data
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Seroprevalence*
  • HIV-1
  • Humans
  • Maryland / epidemiology
  • Postal Service
  • Risk Factors
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires