Revista de Saúde Pública
Print version ISSN 0034-8910
TORRES LOPEZ, Teresa Margarita; REYNALDOS QUINTEROS, Carolina; LOZANO GONZALEZ, Aldo Favio and MUNGUIA CORTES, Jazmín Aranzazú. Cultural conceptions of HIV/AIDS among teenagers in Bolivia, Chile and Mexico. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2010, vol.44, n.5, pp. 820-829. ISSN 0034-8910. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89102010000500007.
OBJECTIVE: To understand the cultural dimensions of HIV/AIDS among adolescent students. METHODS: A cognitive anthropological study was undertaken in Cochabamba (Bolivia), Talca (Chile) and Guadalajara (Mexico), during 2007 and 2008. A total of 184 teenagers (from 14 to 19 years old) were selected by purposeful sampling at secondary schools in each country. Free association lists and pile sorts were utilized. Terms associated with the concept of HIV/AIDS and groups of conceptual dimensions were investigated. Subsequently, consensus analysis was performed using factorial principal components and dimensional analysis through hierarchical clusters and multidimensional scales. RESULTS: The differences between the country contexts were in the degree of consensus in relation to the term HIV/AIDS, which was greater in Cochabamba. In Talca and Guadalajara the youths mentioned metaphors of fighting against HIV/AIDS, while in Cochabamba participants talked about help, support and love that infected people should receive. The similarities among conceptions by youth from the three countries were: the risk factors (unprotected sexual practice and contact with specific population groups), the consequences (physical and social death, being the latter understood as social rejection of people living with HIV/AIDS) and the prevention of illness (based on information and condom use). CONCLUSIONS: For adolescent students, HIV/AIDS is a disease caused by sexual practices and drug use and involves harm, pain and death. HIV/AIDS prevention programs for adolescents should promote science based information on the topic and not concentrate only on the emotional and social consequences of HIV/AIDS.
Keywords : Adolescent; Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome [prevention & control]; Cultural Characteristics; Health Knowledge [Attitudes, Practice]; Anthropology, Cultural; Qualitative Research.