Correlates of AIDS knowledge in samples of the general population

Armando Peruga, David D. Celentano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Eighty studies presenting original research are reviewed to explore the correlates of AIDS knowledge in samples of the general population. Results from these studies indicate that being highly educated, young or white increases the chances of being knowledgeable about AIDS and that a relationship exists between strong religious beliefs or conservative political convictions and low AIDS knowledge. Other social or demographic variables appear to have little effect on AIDS knowledge. Evidence from these studies is divided between findings indicating no association and those showing some relationship between low AIDS knowledge and high level of concern. Restrictive attitudes toward persons with AIDS are associated with low level of knowledge. The literature examining the correlates of AIDS knowledge in samples of the general population is characterized by an abundance of studies with small convenience samples of adolescents or students. Larger and more representative samples of the general population tend to confirm the results of the less methodologically sound convenience samples. However, future studies should take into account potential confounders when examining the relation between knowledge and explanatory variables to assess the nature and reliability of purported associations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-524
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 1993


  • AIDS knowledge
  • HIV
  • health beliefs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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