HIV-related knowledge and risk behaviors of street youth in Belo Horizonte, Brazil

M. Raffaelli, E. Siqueira, A. Payne-Merritt, R. Campos, W. Ude, M. Greco, D. Greco, A. Ruff, N. Halsey, I. Adams, C. M. Antunes, M. L. Jeronymo, Z. Ottoni, J. V. Menezes de Paiva, J. A. Pinto, J. Rolf, B. De Zalduondo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Individual interviews were conducted with 379 youth who work and/or live on the streets of a large Brazilian city to assess HIV-related knowledge, sources of information, risk behaviors, and prevention beliefs and strategies. Respondents demonstrated high levels of factual knowledge about HIV transmission (84% correct) coupled with high levels of misconceptions about casual transmission (53% correct) and intermediate levels of knowledge about prevention (64% correct). Only 54% of the respondents had heard about AIDS recently, and 37.5% said they talked to someone about AIDS. The most common sources of information about HIV/AIDS were the mass-media and friends. Over half the sample reported taking precautions to reduce their risk of HIV infection; however, the proportion of youth taking effective precautions was low. Among the 247 youth (65% of the sample) who had initiated sexual activity, lifetime condom use was reported by 18%, and condom use at last intercourse by 10%. Youth with higher levels of knowledge were more likely to report behavior changes to avoid HIV infection. These findings underscore the urgent need for prevention programs tailored to street youth in developing countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-297
Number of pages11
JournalAIDS Education and Prevention
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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