HIV/AIDS pandemic is still a concern particularly for the high-risk population that includes, for instance, the young people. As such, various measures have been proposed by researchers to help reduce the risk for HIV /AIDS. These preventive measures focus on how the pollution at risk can practice safe sex. Among the determinants associated with the practice of sex include, for instance, self-efficacy, attitude, optimistic bias, and risky sexual behaviors experienced in the past. On the other hand, due to the increasing population of HIV/AIDS infection among heterosexuals in the West, it is important for AIDS education to start at the young age as a way of establishing safe sex habits from the formative years. Around the world, young people are at a high risk of contracting HIV /AIDS due to their sexual habits such as engaging in casual relationships. In this regard, there is still need for further research regarding the determinants of safe sex practices. This paper reviews the pros and cons of the article written by Hardeman, Pierro and Mannetti (1997).
Pros of the article
As explained by Hardeman, Pierro and Mannetti (1997), AIDS education plays an important role in reducing HIV infection among young people. This article is also beneficial in terms of highlighting on the progress of measures targeting HIV/AIDS prevention. For instance, while more effort has gone towards the campaign to create awareness, the impact has not been significant in terms of changing sexual behaviors among the high-risk population. On the other hand, an important preventative measure identified in the article is the use of condoms. While it is assumed in some quarters that condoms encourage promiscuity among the high-risk population, their use has contributed significantly to the reduction of HIV/AIDS prevalence globally.
Previous studies have found that condom use and staying away from casual sex contribute significantly to the reduction of HIV/AIDS infection among young people, for instance, who are considered to be at a high risk (Kordoutis, Loumakou&Sarafidou, 2000). On the other hand, the article raises concerns regarding non-condom use with a known or trusted partner. In essence, the article provides more insight regarding the risks associated with non-condom use on the grounds of trust between partners. Research has shown that most young people are often in a rush to engage in sexual intercourse just a few weeks after the initiation of the relationship.
As such, the article cautions against the false sense of security that often influences the decision of partners to engage in unprotected sex. The emphasis on the determinants of safe sex also provides insight on the various measures can be utilized to reduce the HIV/AIDS infection among the high-risk population. For instance, attitude is a determining factor on the intention to use condoms. In this regard, this finding is vital in terms of helping researchers explore the attitudes of both genders concerning condom use. This will ensure that appropriate measures are taken to ensure both genders develop a positive attitude towards condom use (Kordoutis, Loumakou & Sarafidou, 2000).
Another critical finding in the article is self-efficacy as a determinant factor in the use of a condom. As a goal, it is important to instill in young people the need to embrace safe sex practices. Past behavior, as discussed in the article, has an influence on the future behavior of individual’s sexual habits. In essence, the risks encountered in the past tend to act as a precursor to behavior change (Kordoutis et al., 2000).
On another note, an examination of unrealistic optimism contributes to the understanding why individuals tend to underestimate personal risk concerning HIV infection. This understanding would help to guide research on how to improve impartial reasoning among the high-risk population on the preventive measures they need to embrace (Race, 2014).
Cons of the article
While Hardeman, Pierro and Mannetti (1997), reiterate that the campaigns targeting HIV/AIDS prevention do not influence behavior change, they still play an important role in creating awareness. Campaigns are often undertaken after a study has been conducted and reflects on the needs of the population. As such, whether campaigns do not influence behavior change, they provide the targeted population with important information regarding how to protect themselves against HIV/AIDS.
On another note, a focus on the use of condoms among young people also raises ethical concerns. For example, young people tend to lack the sexual maturity that is synonymous with adults. As such, safe sex practices among young people need to focus on abstinence until they are mature enough to understand the role of sex in the society (Race, 2014).
Related literature on safe sex practices is important in terms of helping the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS infection. However, while most studies focus on the use of condoms as the most consistent measure of preventing HIV/AIDS infection, there is a need for further research on the determinants of safe sex practices. On the same note, young people still need more knowledge to take appropriate action concerning embracing safe sex practices.
Hardeman, W., Pierro, A., & Mannetti, L. (1997). Determinants of intentions to practise safe sex
among 16-25 year-olds.Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 7, 345-360.
Kordoutis, P.S., Loumakou, M., &Sarafidou, J.O. (2000).Heterosexual relationship
characteristics, condom use and safe sex practices. AIDS Care, 12(6), 767-782.
Race, K. (2014).The difference practice makes: evidence, articulation, and affect in HIV
prevention.AIDS Education & Prevention, 26(3), 256-266.