Misperception Among Gay Men of the Risk for AIDS Associated with Their Sexual Behavior

Laurie J. Bauman, Karolynn Siegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Until a vaccine against AIDS is developed, the most effective strategy for preventing the spread of the disease among gay men, the largest risk group, is to persuade them to abstain from particular kinds of sexual practices implicated in the transmission of the AIDS virus. Motivation to comply with risk‐reduction guidelines, however, is dependent in part on a realistic appraisal of the degree of risk associated with one's sexual practices. Data are presented from 160 asymptomatic gay men. Their subjective assessment of the riskiness of their sexual behavior is compared to an objective assessment of the riskiness of their sexual practices. Factors associated with a tendency to underestimate the riskiness of one's practices are examined. Finally, the implications of the findings for public health education efforts among gay men are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-350
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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