Conspiracy Beliefs About HIV/AIDS and Birth Control Among African Americans: Implications for the Prevention of HIV, Other STIs, and Unintended Pregnancy
ABSTRACT In this article, we examine the potential role that conspiracy beliefs regarding HIV/AIDS (e.g., "HIV is a manmade virus") and birth control (e.g., "The government is trying to limit the Black population by encouraging the use of condoms") play in the prevention of HIV, other STIs, and unintended pregnancies among African Americans in the United States. First, we review prior research indicating that substantial percentages of African Americans endorse conspiracy beliefs about HIV/AIDS and birth control. Next, we present a theoretical framework that suggests how conspiracy beliefs influence sexual behavior and attitudes. We then offer several recommendations for future research. Finally, we discuss the policy and programmatic implications of conspiracy beliefs for the prevention of HIV, other STIs, and unintended pregnancy.
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ABSTRACT: This study describes contraceptive understanding, sources of information and consequences of contraceptive misunderstandings among urban, young adults. We used qualitative data from 16 focus groups and 53 interviews with Puerto Rican and African American men and women aged 18-25 years from Philadelphia and Hartford. We categorized and compared assertions made about all contraceptive methods' side effects, effectiveness and use using an iterative process. Participants considered contraceptive use worthwhile but felt that it carried risks of problematic side effects and contraceptive failure, with variation among methods. Men knew most about condoms and withdrawal and trusted both more than women. Personal or second-hand experience was the dominant source of information on contraceptive understanding. Misunderstandings about contraception affected their relationships and risk of unintended pregnancy. Contraceptive understanding is a powerful determinant of contraceptive use and limits the options perceived by young adults to prevent pregnancy. Research is needed to strengthen contraceptive counseling and outreach in ways that better leverage peer influence.Contraception 03/2012; 86(5):543-50. DOI:10.1016/j.contraception.2012.02.017 · 2.93 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Using experimental methodology, this study tests the effectiveness of HIV/AIDS prevention messages tailored specifically to college-aged African Americans. To test interaction effects, it intersects source role and evidence format. The authors used gain-framed and loss-framed information specific to young African Americans and HIV to test message effectiveness between statistical and emotional evidence formats, and for the first time, a statistical/emotional combination format. It tests which source--physician or minister--that young African Americans believe is more effective when delivering HIV/AIDS messages to young African Americans. By testing the interaction between source credibility and evidence format, this research expands knowledge on creating effective health messages in several major areas. Findings include a significant interaction between the role of physician and the combined statistical/emotional format. This message was rated as the most effective way to deliver HIV/AIDS prevention messages.Journal of Health Communication 02/2012; 17(5):515-31. DOI:10.1080/10810730.2011.635771 · 1.61 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Lay perceptions of collectives (e.g., groups, organizations, countries) implicated in the 2009 H1N1 outbreak were studied. Collectives serve symbolic functions to help laypersons make sense of the uncertainty involved in a disease outbreak. We argue that lay representations are dramatized, featuring characters like heroes, villains and victims. In interviews conducted soon after the outbreak, 47 Swiss respondents discussed the risk posed by H1N1, its origins and effects, and protective measures. Countries were the most frequent collectives mentioned. Poor, underdeveloped countries were depicted as victims, albeit ambivalently, as they were viewed as partly responsible for their own plight. Experts (physicians, researchers) and political and health authorities were depicted as heroes. Two villains emerged: the media (viewed as fear mongering or as a puppet serving powerful interests) and private corporations (e.g., the pharmaceutical industry). Laypersons' framing of disease threat diverges substantially from official perspectives.Public Understanding of Science 07/2011; 20(4):461-76. DOI:10.1177/0963662510393605 · 1.87 Impact Factor