Transnational Research Associates


Art Madsen, M.Ed.

[With Research Support from a Foreign Student]

Background and Significance

The recent history of HIV/AIDS in New Mexico has been quite alarming. From 1981 to 1989, the number of reported HIV/AIDS cases in the state’s largest city, Albuquerque, was only 140, with mortality ranging, for various ethnic categories, from 88% to 100 %. Whereas the number of cases, in this same locality, for the years 1990 to 1997, has increased dramatically to a total of 758, with mortality hovering in the range of 39% to 100% (FBHC, 1999). Homosexual behavior, drug use and rampant promiscuity have been linked to HIV/AIDS transmission (CDC, 2000).

In contrast to the foregoing trends in New Mexico, the CDC in Atlanta has reported that adolescents throughout the nation are postponing sex, are using condoms more often, and seem to be having fewer sexual contacts with fewer partners. Using data from five school-based surveys, the CDC found that 50 percent of those aged 13 to 19 said they had sex in 1999, compared to 54 percent in 1991. Encouragingly, 16 percent said they have had four or more partners, down from 19 percent, and 58 percent reported using a condom the last time they had intercourse, up from 46 percent. These changes in behavior are attributed, in large part, to education about HIV/AIDS, abstinence and use of condom (USA Today, 2000).

The incidence of HIV/AIDS in Southern New Mexico is relatively high by NM standards, as can be seen below, and is largely due to contaminated needles and syringes shared among known drug addicts (FYI, 1998). For three prominent counties, the total reported cases as of December 1998 amounted, according to FYI, to 166 (Dona Ana County), 537 (Santa Fe County) and 1353 (Bernalillo County).

Historically, HIV/AIDS was homosexually transmitted; however, in the late 1990s, it became apparent that promiscuous heterosexual activity and/or shared drug paraphernalia were increasingly responsible for transmission of this highly contagious retrovirus.

The financial and human costs of HIV/AIDS in New Mexico, as elsewhere, are clearly significant. It is hypothesized by the New Mexico Insurance Assistance Program and New Mexico AIDS Infonet that tremendous amounts are lost to the State’s economy due to incapacitation of AIDS victims, hospitalization, hospice costs, and family care expenses (NMAI, 1998). The Center for Disease Control in Atlanta has published data confirming that public health awareness campaigns seem to be working across the nation, as mentioned earlier. New Mexico would be no exception to this rule, although HIV/AIDS infection rates remain disturbingly high for such a rural state.

Purpose of Study

Keeping the foregoing in mind, a brief survey has been conducted among NMSU students, the purpose of which was to determine the level of HIV/AIDS awareness among them

The specific goals and objectives of this questionnaire-based study were to learn more about the behavioral patterns of students confronted by the risks of HIV/AIDS in contemporary times. Specifically, questions were phrased so as to learn, in a fairly detailed fashion, what patterns may emerge in the student population at large. The Health Belief Model was applied when drafting the questions, with the expectation that insights into perceived susceptibility, severity of risk, perceived benefits and self-efficacy could be derived. On the questionnaire, socio-economic standing, ethnicity, age, gender were also taken into account.


A sampling of six students constituted the group of subjects to be questioned. They were a heterogenous grouping in terms of age, ethnicity, gender and educational status.

  • Respondent criterion utilized: NMSU student.
  • Recruitment strategy: chosen on the basis of convenience and proximity.
  • Location: Jacobs Hall, Zuhl Library
  • Time of Day: 4:30 until 5:15PM
  • Date: October 13, 2000
  • Instrumentation took the form of a mixed questionnaire of the multiple-choice, nominal and Likert type, resulting in different measurement modalities.

    For purposes of conducting this survey, procedures were comprised of:

  • Six Letters of Consent, appended hereto, explaining the intent of the study, the nature of the questionnaire and the non-fee status of the respondents’ participation, as well as a consent clause therein.
  • One letter of consent was signed, in different campus locations, by each respondent.
  • The students were given the questionnaire; no one refused to participate.
  • It was subsequently collected and tabulated.
  • There were no irregularities in the procedural phase, except one to be discussed herein below.


    When results were tabulated, raw data emerged as shown on Table I herein below.

    Identifying Criteria & Social Characteristics

    Respondent Characteristics

    No. of Respondents



    2 / 4





    His / Anglo / Asian / Other

    2 / 2 / 1 / 1

    Educational Level

    Senior / Junior

    5 / 1

    Table I

    In other domains covered by the questionnaire, results indicated that perceived susceptibility, perceived severity and self-efficacy were, respectively, described by respondents as "yes" = 100%, "very serious" = 100%, and "very motivated" = 83%, with the final respondent (17% of respondents) indicated a reading of "motivated." Prevention measures were ranked by respondents, in decreasing order of replies, as "abstinence" (2), and one each for "know your partner", "fidelity to wife", "use of condom" and an irregular response.

    Data Analysis

    Since there were only six respondents, the calculations were relatively straightforward.

    Gender in Percentage

    Ethnicity in Percentage





    African American


    Native American


    Asian American




    Table II

    Age Range of Respondents = 18 to 25

    NMSU Student Level in Percentage









    Table III

    Discussion and Conclusion

    [Advisory Note: The below section was found inadequate by the professor not because of the ultra-small sampling of students, which was permissible since this paper is merely a structural exercise, but rather because of incomplete discussion content and improper sequencing.]

    This study was extremely limited due to the low number of respondents, and, of course, statistical significance could not be achieved. Furthermore, the sampling was one of convenience. The most significant result dealt with perceived severity, perceived susceptibility and self-efficacy. The students seemed convinced that they were susceptible and that HIV/AIDS was a severe risk, and that they had some personal control over avoiding transmission.

    In analyzing the prevention measure question, it was found that one response was irregular indicating a lack of understanding; however, the remaining five respondents answered this measure relevantly. They were, therefore, aware of the means of preventing transmission

    Interestingly, the survey results seemed to support previous research findings in New Mexico (see report’s Background and Significance Section) indicating that young people are generally aware of the risks of HIV/AIDS.


    AIDS Data By Locality, Center for Disease Control Data, Foundation for Better Health Care, [1999].

    Barickman, N. New Mexico Insurance Assistance Program, AIDS Infonet Fact Sheet No. 321, New Mexico Department of Health, [1998 November 25].

    ………….., Five-Year HIV Strategic Plan, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and [2000, October 23].

    Foster, R. Teen Sexual Activity in USA on Decline During Past Decade, HIV Update, [2000, July 17].

    ……………… , Report on HIV in Dona Ana County, Family & Youth, Inc., [Data from 1998; JW Report October 2000].