Despite research, education, and preventive programs, HIV continues to thrive. It is estimated that half the HIV infections worldwide have occurred in individuals between the ages of 15 and 24 years. HIV-infected individuals who persist in the same behaviors that put them at risk are potentially infecting others as well as further endangering their own health. An awareness of the risk behaviors in which the fast growing HIV-infected young adult population is engaging might be useful in future education and prevention efforts. The purpose of this study was to explore the risk behaviors of HIV-infected young adults. The theoretical framework for the study was Albert Bandura's Self-Efficacy Theory. Research questions included the following: What are the risk behaviors of HIV-infected young adults? And what is the self-efficacy of HIV-infected young adults? The target population was HIV-infected young adults 18 to 25 years of age) attending HIV support groups in Memphis, Tennessee. A convenience sample of 11 completed the Risk Behavior Questionnaire, a researcher-designed questionnaire addressing risk behaviors. Descriptive statistics, including frequencies and percentages, were used to analyze the data. The findings of the study indicated that HIV-infected young adults are participating in risk behavior despite a high self-efficacy. Nurse practitioners should be aware of risk behavior in HIV-infected young adults and adapt their care and teaching to address the educative needs of this population. Recommendations for further research include larger scale studies investigating the risk behavior as well as the knowledge of HIV-infected young adults and studies focused on strategies to decrease risk behavior in HIV-infected young adults.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

Degree Date


Publication Number


First Advisor

Dr. Patricia E. Smyth

Second Advisor

Dr. Linda Cox

Third Advisor

Dr. Donna Gullette

Document Type


Included in

Nursing Commons