HIV; AIDS; African Americans; college students; HBCUs


Public Health


Objective: We describe baseline HIV knowledge among students at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to inform and strengthen HIV education efforts at HBCUs.

Methods: We surveyed 1,230 African American HBCU students from 24 HBCUs; 1,051 responses (85.4 %) were analyzable.

Results: Although general HIV knowledge was high among respondents (95% of students correctly responded that having sex without a condom constituted unsafe sex), knowledge deficits were noted (only 25% of students reported that multiple sex partners is a form of unsafe sex, while 25% of students reported that withdrawal of the penis before ejaculation reduced HIV risk).

Conclusions: Misperceptions about HIV have implications for unintended sexual transmission of HIV. As African American young adults are disproportionately affected by HIV, strengthening HIV prevention efforts at HBCUs may include correcting misperceptions to reduce sexual risk and decrease HIV-related health disparities among young people.

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