Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a disease of pandemic proportions that is present both incurable and fatal. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop (1987), AIDS is caused by infection with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). This virus is transmitted most efficiently by three modes: sexually, through contact with blood, and perinatally from mother to child (Mann, 1988).
Education that fosters and sustains behavioral changes is the only means currently available to control the spread of HIV (Institute of Medicine/ National Academy of Science [IOM/NAS], 1988). While numerous HIV/AIDS prevention education programs have been initiated, the U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) concluded, after an analysis of AIDS education campaigns, that most campaigns have not collected the data needed to determine if they are effective The U.S.
The army initiated an HIV/AIDS prevention education program in 1986 in conjunction with mandatory HIV screening. The regulations updating this program were revised March 198; however, instruments to evaluate the effectiveness of this program have not been developed, tested, and refined yet to insure satisfactory reliability and validity. HIV/AIDS infection is recognized as not only a disease, but also as a sociological, psychological, economic, and historic event. Thus, an instrument developed to assist in combatting the epidemic through assessing prevention education must focus not only on the disease but also on the social phenomenon associated with the disease.
The AIDS epidemic continues to occupy a position of both national and international significance. As HIV infection rates continue to rise, an increasing number of people remain at risk for contracting this life-threatening illness. Women are among the fastest-growing groups at risk for HIV infection with minority women representing over half of the reported cases among U.S. women. Intravenous (TV) drug use by women is currently the major transmission mode of infection. However, female partners of intravenous drug users occupy a growing second place.