Partner Awareness Risk and Perceived HIV Susceptibility among Seronegative Heterosexual Couples

Trent W. Moore, Florida State University
David F. Sly, Florida State University
Dianne Harrison, Florida State University

Perceived susceptibility or vulnerability is a central concept of many theoretical models of individual health behavior. Unlike many other health risks, one's perceived susceptibility for HIV is due not only to one's own behavioral risk levels but also partner risk levels. Consideration of partner risks, however, is usually done without full and accurate knowledge. The disparity between actual and perceived partner risks constitutes what we call partner awareness risk (PAR). Using data from a pretest phase of a randomized trial designed to evaluate the efficacy of an HIV/STD risk reduction intervention for at-risk heterosexual couples (N=520), we investigate how PAR levels are associated with perceived HIV susceptibility. More specifically, we examine the extent to which PAR moderates the association of sociodemographic, behavioral risk, and relationship context factors with perceived HIV susceptibility, paying particular attention to how these relationships vary by gender.

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Presented in Session 3: Couples and Reproductive Health