Self-Perceived HIV/AIDS Risk among Youth in Cape Town, South Africa

Kermyt G. Anderson, University of Oklahoma
Ann M. Beutel, University of Oklahoma

We use data from the Cape Area Panel Study (CAPS) to examine self-perceived HIV/AIDS risk among 4,108 black, coloured, and white South African youth living in Cape Town, South Africa. We find there are significant racial differences in HIV/AIDS risk perception, HIV/AIDS risk behavior, and familiarity with HIV/AIDS. Gender differences in these factors are generally absent. Overall, participation in risk behaviors generally fails to predict perceived HIV/AIDS risk in multivariate models. The only HIV risk behavior that is a consistent predictor of perceived HIV risk is having ever had sex. We find a frequent mismatch between behavior and perception; many youth who are not sexually active believe they are at risk of HIV infection, and many sexually active youth feel they are not at risk. This mismatch varies by race, with whites the most likely to exhibit to overestimate their HIV risk, and blacks the least.

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Presented in Poster Session 3: Children and Youth, Adolescence, Parenting, Transition to Adulthood, Life Course