Validated HIV Knowledge Scales for Use with Adults and Adolescents: A Systematic Review

AIDS Behav. 2022 May;26(5):1695-1715. doi: 10.1007/s10461-021-03521-4. Epub 2021 Nov 3.


HIV knowledge - the information a person possesses about HIV - is essential for the prevention and management of HIV. Therefore, the accurate measurement of HIV knowledge is important for both science and practice. This systematic review identifies extant HIV knowledge scales that have been validated with adolescent and adult populations and summarizes the state of this research. We searched seven electronic databases, which resulted in 6,525 articles. After title/abstract and full-text review, 27 studies remained and underwent qualitative review of reported scale psychometric properties. Many studies were conducted in the last decade (n = 12), reflecting advances in scientific knowledge of HIV. Five were exclusively adolescent-based studies (sample age ≤ 18). Most studies reported reliability (n = 25) or at least one form of validity (n = 21). Future studies should develop or refine HIV knowledge scales so that they reflect recent scientific developments, use rigorous psychometric testing, and target samples that include those persons at highest risk for HIV.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS; Knowledge; Measurement; Reliability; Validation.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • HIV Infections* / diagnosis
  • HIV Infections* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results