As the number of adolescents contracting Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) increases, the importance of educational interventions to change behaviors, attitudes, and knowledge regarding AIDS becomes more significant. The purpose of this study was to ascertain the effects of a teaching program about AIDS prevention on the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of high school students. Orem's Self-Care Theory was used to guide this quasi-experimental study. The sample consisted of 49 twelfth-grade students who were drawn from two high schools in rural Northeast Mississippi. The Student Health survey was utilized to assess students' knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors about AIDS. Descriptive analysis and the t test were employed to analyze the data. Three hypotheses were formulated. Hypotheses 1 was accepted: High school students who attended an AIDS prevention class had a significantly higher posttest score than high school students who did not attend. Hypothesis 2 was rejected since high school students had no significant difference in attitudes, after education. The third hypothesis was not tested due to the time constraints; however, pretest responses were significant for high-risk sexual behaviors. The researcher concluded that, after an educational intervention, subjects’ knowledge level regarding AIDS issues was significantly increased; however, increased knowledge did not significantly change students' attitudes toward AIDS. Additional findings indicated that 82% of the sample had engaged in sexual intercourse, and the majority of these subjects did not use condoms. Students indicated that because of AIDS they have to be more careful about their sexual behavior. Many students did not consider themselves at risk for AIDS. Implications for nursing science include the continued application of Orem's Self-Care Theory with other adolescent groups, refinement, and perpetual AIDS prevention programs to all age groups and the inclusion of assessment of highrisk sexual behaviors of adolescents as a part of the data base. Recommendations for future research included replication of the study with a larger sample including representation from other socioeconomic and ethnic groups, development of valid and reliable instruments to measure high-risk behaviors, and further studies utilizing the Orem Self-Care Theory with other adolescent groups.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

Degree Date


Publication Number


First Advisor

Dr. Mary Patricia Curtis

Second Advisor

Mary Jo Kirkpatrick

Document Type


Included in

Nursing Commons