In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section HIV/AIDS Prevention with Adolescents

  • Introduction
  • Introductory Works
  • Reviews
  • International Trends

Social Work HIV/AIDS Prevention with Adolescents
Geetha Gopalan, Candice Baugh, Mary McKay
  • LAST REVIEWED: 29 August 2012
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 August 2012
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389678-0061


Adolescence is marked by the onset of physical and emotional maturation, which is accompanied by the challenges of adapting to social, emotional, and cognitive changes. Adolescence covers a large age range, beginning as young as nine or ten and lasting to eighteen years or older. Throughout this period, youth are moving between the worlds of childhood and adulthood, experiencing multiple new and stressful challenges. As children move through adolescence, they have basic developmental and psychosocial needs, including receiving family support, participating in caring relationships, acquiring skills to cope adaptively with everyday life, and believing in a future with real opportunities. As a social determinant of health, environmental conditions have a large impact on HIV risk for youth. Urban minority youth, in particular, grow up in disadvantaged neighborhoods with acute environmental risk factors, including racism, poverty, substance abuse, exposure to high levels of community violence, deteriorating youth-supportive resources, and a serious shortage of health services. Youth entering adolescence under adverse circumstances are often ill prepared to cope effectively with normative developmental challenges, marking this period as high risk for school dropout, early and risky sexual behavior, pregnancy, drug abuse, and suicide. In the early 21st century nearly twelve million young people are living with HIV/AIDS. Such statistics underscore the urgent need to address HIV/AIDS infection among youth. Increasing rates of infection among teens have been explained by adolescents having more-limited life experience and not having the social and cognitive skills to negotiate situations of sexual risk. Understanding and changing adolescent health protective skills and sexual behaviors are key to reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS in this age group. Consequently, this bibliography serves as a guide in the planning of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted disease (STD) primary prevention programs focused on adolescents across a variety of circumstances and settings. Although this bibliography focuses primarily on studies in the United States, we also present an overview of international trends in HIV/AIDS and STD primary prevention.

Introductory Works

To orient readers to the state of the research, Peterson and DiClemente 2000 focuses on HIV prevention in general. DiClemente 1992 and Kotchick, et al. 2006 are seminal works focusing on adolescents specifically. In addition, family-based programs have been an important area of research and practice with regard to HIV prevention in adolescents. Pequegnat and Szapocznik 2000 will familiarize the reader with how families can be integrated into HIV prevention efforts. As HIV prevention programs disproportionately affect low-income minority communities, McKay and Paikoff 2007, on community collaborative partnerships, explains the process of integrating input from key community stakeholders into HIV prevention interventions to create programs that work.

  • DiClemente, Ralph J., ed. 1992. Adolescents and AIDS: A generation in jeopardy. Newbury Park, CA: SAGE.

    This introductory work discusses how the AIDS epidemic affects adolescents in general as well as specific high-risk populations (e.g., ethnic minorities, incarcerated youth, homeless youth). Epidemiological information, theoretical discussions, strategies for designing and implementing programs of risk reduction and prevention, evaluation of existing intervention strategies, and public policy recommendations are included.

  • Kotchick, Beth A., Lisa Armistead, and Rex L. Forehand. 2006. Sexual risk behavior. In Behavioral and emotional disorders in adolescents: Nature, assessment, and treatment. Edited by David A. Wolfe and Eric J. Mash, 563–588. New York: Guilford.

    Geared toward practitioners who work with adolescents in clinical and community settings, this book chapter focuses on adolescent sexual-risk behavior and consequent emotional and health risks, as well as promoting risk-reduction practices.

  • McKay, Mary M., and Robert Paikoff, eds. 2007. Community-collaborative partnerships: The foundation for HIV prevention research efforts. Binghamton, NY: Haworth.

    This book draws on basic research and collaborative input from key community stakeholders to inform youth-focused, family-based HIV/AIDS prevention programming across contexts and populations. Also see Family- and Parent-Based Programs and Preadolescents and Early Adolescents.

  • Pequegnat, Willo, and José Szapocznik, eds. 2000. Working with families in the era of HIV/AIDS. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

    This book is designed to encourage professionals to become more involved in family-oriented HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and research activities. Contents include an overview of the role of families, applying assessment strategies, training facilitators, and an overview of specific family-based programs.

  • Peterson, John L., and Ralph J. DiClemente, eds. 2000. Handbook of HIV prevention. New York: Kluwer/Plenum.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4615-4137-0

    Integrates theoretical models explaining HIV risk behavior used to develop individual- and community-level interventions, research methods, findings from prior intervention studies, and implications of HIV prevention research, such as technology transfer, economics, ethical issues, and future directions.

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