HIV risk and sources of information among urban street youth

M. P. Leach, R. J. Wolitski, G. M. Goldbaum, M. Fishbein, D. Cohn, N. Corby, A. Freeman, D. Higgins, J. Sheridan, S. Tross, R. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


HIV risk characteristics and sources of HIV information were examined in a sample of 430 sexually active street youth recruited in Seattle, Washington. Overall, 40% of these youth were living on the street or in a shelter at time of interview. The majority (80%) reported having multiple sex partners in the prior 30 days. Condom use was reported more frequently for non-main partners versus main partners. More than one-third had ever injected drugs and almost all reported use of alcohol or other substances. Basic HIV knowledge and recent exposure to HIV information were relatively high - 63% of street youth had received HIV information from two or more sources in the prior 3 months. Small media (e.g. brochures, flyers) were the most frequently-mentioned channel of HIV information (77%), followed by interpersonal (60%), and mass media sources (41%). HIV information from street-based small media had been received by 63% of the sample, and were the only specific source of HIV information to reach more than half of street youth. Significant differences in sources of HIV information were observed for gender and homeless status. Recent exposure to HIV information via small media channels was positively associated with several psychosocial variables pertaining to condom-use with the respondent's main sex partner, while exposure to any source was not related to variables associated with condom use with non-main partners. Implications of these findings for prevention communication campaigns targeting street youth are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-134
Number of pages16
JournalPsychology, Health and Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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