Using Information to Change Sexually Transmitted Disease-Related Behaviors
Given that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are transmitted by individuals engaging in definable physical behaviors and that many STDs are not curable, it is clear that an effective STD prevention program must include a component that focuses on changing high-risk or maintaining low-risk behaviors. Furthermore, a behavior change program is also necessary to encourage people to determine whether or not they have been exposed to a particular STD, as well as to get them to seek and use available treatments. In this chapter, we illustrate how the theory of reasoned action (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980; Fishbein, 1980, 1967; Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975), can be used to empirically identify the determinants of any given behavior (i.e., the factors underlying it). Perhaps more important, we also try to show how, once identified, information about these determinants can be used to develop interventions that can successfully influence behaviors involved in the control and spread of STDs, including AIDS.
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