The Disclosure of Celebrity HIV Infection; Its Effects on Public Attitudes
Kalichman, Seth C.
Hunter, Tricia L.
American Journal of Public Health. 1992 Oct; 82(10): 1374-1376.
Objectives: Despite the magnitude of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic, studies have shown low levels of public concern about human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/AIDS. We investigated the effects of celebrity disclosure of HIV infection on the AIDS-related perceptions of urban men. Methods: Measures of AIDS-related perceptions were collected from 361 men waiting for mass transportation in downtown Chicago; 252 were assessed at three time points prior to and 109 were assessed at two time points after professional basketball star Earvin "Magic" Johnson's disclosure of his HIV infection. Results: Significant increases in concern about AIDS, interest in AIDS information, and talking with friends about AIDS occurred after celebrity disclosure of HIV infection. Conclusions: Celebrity disclosure of HIV seropositivity demonstrated a marked change in AIDS-related perceptions among the men surveyed. Changes in awareness due to celebrity disclosure may lead to increased readiness to reduce risk and could be viewed as a window of opportunity for HIV prevention efforts.
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