Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship of health beliefs to intention to accept human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccination.
Methods: Respondents were 81 female and 44 male college students who completed self-administered questionnaires. Questionnaires included items assessing intention to get vaccinated for HIV and the following health beliefs: perceived susceptibility to HIV infection, severity of AIDS, benefits of HIV immunization, pragmatic obstacles to vaccination, conditional nonmembership in a risk group, fear of the vaccine, and fear of needles.
Results: Nearly 30% of the subjects were uncertain about or opposed to getting immunized for HIV. Susceptibility, severity, pragmatic obstacles, conditional nonmembership in a risk group, and fear of the vaccine were significantly correlated with intent to get vaccinated. Fear of needles, gender, and race were not associated with intent to get an HIV vaccine. Multiple regression analysis identified susceptibility, benefits, pragmatic obstacles, nonmembership in risk group, and fear of the vaccine as significant independent predictors of intent to vaccinate.
Conclusions: These preliminary survey findings demonstrate that intention to accept HIV immunization is not universal and that health beliefs may influence HIV vaccine acceptance. They suggest that it may be important to consider the effects of psychological factors in future research on HIV vaccine acceptance and in the ultimate implementation of HIV immunization programs.