HIV/AIDS risk in heterosexual college students: A review of a decade of literature

John E. Lewis, Robert M. Malow, Susan J. Ireland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


Empirical studies dealing with the psychosocial correlates of HIV risk among heterosexual college students are reviewed, including findings related to such theoretical variables as HIV/AIDS-related knowledge, personal and partner's attitudes toward condom use, perceived susceptibility, communication with sex partners, and sexual self-efficacy. Although college students are highly knowledgeable about basic HIV/AIDS facts, they retain some misperceptions about disease transmission. They hold neutral-to-negative hedonistic and practical attitudes about using condoms; those who have engaged in risky behavior accurately perceive their greater susceptibility to infection and experience anxiety regarding transmission of HIV infection. Heterosexual college students communicate infrequently with their partners about safer sex, but they often agree to a partner's suggestion that they use condoms. Higher levels of sexual self-efficacy among college students have been associated with a lower risk for HIV transmission. Limitations and clinical implications of the findings and recommendations for future interventions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-158
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American College Health Association
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1997


  • AIDS
  • college students
  • communication
  • condoms
  • HIV infection
  • sexual self- efficacy
  • susceptibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Education


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