Article Text

Download PDFPDF
HIV/AIDS knowledge and high risk sexual practices among southern California Vietnamese.
  1. G A Gellert,
  2. R M Maxwell,
  3. K V Higgins,
  4. K K Mai,
  5. R Lowery,
  6. L Doll
  1. Project HOPE Health Sciences Education Center, Millwood, VA 22646, USA.


    OBJECTIVES--Vietnamese immigration to the U.S. since the conclusion of the Vietnam war has been substantial and in Orange County, CA, Vietnamese Americans comprise 3% of the population (the largest community in the US). Our objective was to collect data on the HIV/AIDS knowledge, attitudes and self-reported high risk behaviours within this community. METHODS--A survey instrument was administered anonymously in Vietnamese to 532 respondents in their homes. Individuals from three population strata were randomly sampled: men 18 to 35 years old (N = 193); men 36 to 45 years old (N = 137); and women 18 to 35 years old (N = 202). Data were gathered on: (1) degree of acculturation; (2) knowledge and attitudes towards HIV/AIDS; and (3) self-reported sexual and other high risk practices. RESULTS--Survey data indicated that 38% of respondents were very worried about themselves and 83% were worried about a family member getting AIDS. Knowledge about actual modes of HIV transmission was generally accurate, but a substantial minority still believed that HIV can be transmitted through casual contact, and 68% from needles used in hospitals. Women demonstrated less accurate knowledge than men on five key items. Quarantine of the HIV infected was agreed to by 45%. Twenty-nine percent did not believe that the epidemic would affect them personally, and 49% stated that they did not have enough information about AIDS to protect themselves. Regarding sexual practices, 31% reported never having had sex. Of the others, 8% had two or more sexual partners in the prior 12 months. No same sex behaviour was reported. Six percent of men had visited a female prostitute; of these, 24% had visited 2 or more in the prior 12 months; half of encounters in this time period were outside the US. Substantial percentages of sexually active, unmarried respondents indicated that they never use (17-40%) or only sometimes use (10-32%) condoms. Less than 1% had used injection drugs. CONCLUSIONS--Education should be targeted at the Vietnamese community of southern California to improve knowledge that HIV cannot be contracted through casual contact, to convey information about methods for self-protection, and to reduce high risk sexual practices such as unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners and sex with prostitutes.

    Statistics from

    Request Permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.