A skills-building approach to AIDS education with minority female addicts
Gordon, Kathy B.
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The methadone maintenance treatment patient is at high risk of contracting or transmitting the AIDS virus, because of past and current high-risk sexual and drug-taking behavior. The female patient is of particular concern because of the direct link between pediatric AIDS and IV drug use. In addition the majority of children with AIDS are born to Black or Hispanic mothers. Black and Hispanic women are infected with the AIDS virus at 10 times the rate of white women.;The present study investigated the reasons why minority female methadone patients continue to engage in high-risk sexual behavior despite knowledge of AIDS and routes of transmission. It was hypothesized that these women continue to engage in unsafe sexual behavior because of a lack of social skills and a feeling of learned helplessness, borne out of their stigmatized, disenfranchised role in society.;An experimental design was utilized where Black and Hispanic female methadone patients were randomly assigned to one of two groups: a social skills training group or a control group. Patients were administered a battery of instruments pre and postest that assessed knowledge about AIDS, attitudes towards AIDS and sexual behavior and attitudes. Results revealed statistically significant differences between experimental and control subjects, supporting the hypotheses tested. Experimental subjects reported a significant increase in use of condoms, in communicating with sexual partners, and in feeling they had some control over whether or not they would become infected with the AIDS virus.