A voluntary serosurvey and behavioral risk assessment for human immunodeficiency virus infection among college students

Karen L. Kotloff, Carol O. Tacket, Steven S. Wasserman, Margaret W. Bridwell, Jane E. Cowan, John D. Clemens, Thola A. Brothers, Sylvia A. O’Donnell, Thomas C. Quinn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The authors conducted a voluntary serosurvey and educational campaign among 3394 undergraduate students attending the University of Maryland at College Park to determine the prevalence of and risk factors for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection. Two students were seropositive (0.06%, 95% confidence interval 0−0.15%). Both were homosexual men with multiple sexual partners. Despite the low prevalence of infection, potential risk factors for transmission of HIV-1 were common, as assessed by a self-administered anonymous questionnaire. These included a previous sexually transmitted disease (12.6%), male homosexual intercourse (4.8% of men), heterosexual anal intercourse (25.3%), heterosexual intercourse with a person at risk (an HIV-1 infected person, a bisexual man, a parenteral drug user, a female prostitute, or a hemophiliac) (5.2%), multiple sexual partners (21% reported 10 or more lifetime partners), and intravenous drug use (1.3%). Assessment of the efficacy of our program by comparing responses on pre- and post-test questionnaires showed gains in knowledge about heterosexual transmission of HIV-1 and an increase in the reported frequency of condom use 1−2 months after participating in the survey. The authors conclude that HIV-1 infections are occurring among college students but in our study group remain confined to persons with known high-risk behavior; however, practices that may support transmission are common, and programs designed to diminish these behaviors among college students are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-227
Number of pages5
JournalSexually transmitted diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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