Conspiracy Beliefs About HIV/AIDS and Birth Control Among African Americans

Implications for the Prevention of HIV, Other STIs, and Unintended Pregnancy

Published in: Journal of Social Issues, v. 61, no. 1, Mar. 2005, p. 109-126

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2005

by Sheryl Thorburn Bird, Laura M. Bogart

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In this article, the authors 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, they review prior research indicating that substantial percentages of African Americans endorse conspiracy beliefs about HIV/AIDS and birth control. Next, the authors present a theoretical framework that suggests how conspiracy beliefs influence sexual behavior and attitudes. The authors offer several recommendations for future research. Finally, they discuss the policy and programmatic implications of conspiracy beliefs for the prevention of HIV, other STIs, and unintended pregnancy.

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