The purpose of this descriptive correlational study was to assess the magnitude of the relationship between perceiving oneself at risk for HIV infection and participating in behaviors associated with an increased risk for HIV among women. The Health Belief Model provided the theoretical framework for this study's examination of women's perception of risk and participation in risk behavior. The research questions addressed in this study were: What is the perception of risk for HIV infection in women age 18-45? What are the risk behaviors for HIV infection in women age 18-45? The research hypothesis of this study was: There is an inverse relationship between the perception of risk for HIV infection and participation in risk behaviors for women age 18-45. A convenience sample of women who received services at a local health department in Northwest Mississippi were surveyed using the Knowledge/Attitudes/Behaviors HIV/AIDS Questionnaire. Descriptive statistics were generated to describe the demographic characteristics of the women participating in the study. Responses to the instrument were analyzed using Pearson r correlation procedures. There was a positive correlation demonstrated between perception of risk and IV drug use (p = .01). A correlation was established at the .05 level of significance for perception of risk and number of sex partners in the past six months. Based on these findings, the hypothesis was rejected. The conclusions of this study were there is a direct correlation between women's perception of risk for HIV infection and participation in risk behaviors for HIV infection by women in this sample. Women who engage in IV drug use and women who have had multiple sex partners in the past six months have a high perception of their risk for the HIV virus. Perception of risk does not motivate women to change their sexual behavior. Women underestimate their risk for HIV infection, and education and knowledge have little effect on reducing risk behavior. Further research is recommended with a larger sample with a greater age and education range. Factors that shape or form perception of risk for HIV infection should be investigated as well as factors that motivate change in sexual risk behavior.
Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Sarah M. Howell
Breen, Sister Eileen, "Relationship Between Perception of Risk for HIV Infection and Participation in Risk Behaviors for HIV Infection By Women" (1994). MSN Research Projects. 164.