Medical College of Wisconsin
CTSICores SearchResearch InformaticsREDCap

"Condoms are reliable but I am not": A qualitative analysis of AIDS-related beliefs and attitudes of young heterosexual adults in Budapest, Hungary, and St. Petersburg, Russia. Cent Eur J Public Health 2006 Jun;14(2):59-66



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-33745742027   15 Citations


HIV and STD prevention is an essential component of public health initiatives in countries throughout Central and Eastern Europe. Liberalization in sexual values, declining age at first sex, higher levels of sexual activity, and inconsistent condom use have been well-documented among young people in the region following the political, economic, and cultural transitions after the end of the state socialism era. Less well-understood are the reasons for high-risk sexual behavior and psychosocial factors that must be addressed in the development of effective HIV/STD prevention programs. This study recruited members of 12 high-risk social networks of young adult men and women (n= 66 participants) in two cities, St. Petersburg, Russia, and Budapest, Hungary. In-depth focus groups were conducted with all members of each network, and qualitatively analyzed to examine factors surrounding high-risk sexual behavior. Main themes that emerged were that STDs are less known and less feared than AIDS, HIV risk factors were relatively well known among young adults in both countries but vulnerability is perceived differently, pregnancy prevention is a more immediate concern than protection from HIV or STDs, condom use declines quickly following first sex with a new partner, reintroducing condom use in a relationship is very difficult, and young adults report many barriers to condom use including those related to alcohol or other substance use. HIV/STD prevention programs are needed that extend beyond risk education alone and that also address critical psychological, social, and relationship factors related to sexual risk behavior.

Author List

Tak√°cs J, Amirkhanian YA, Kelly JA, Kirsanova AV, Khoursine RA, Mocsonaki L


Yuri A. Amirkhanian PhD Professor in the Psychiatry department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Jeffrey A. Kelly PhD Professor in the Psychiatry department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Attitude to Health
Evaluation Studies as Topic
HIV Infections
Interviews as Topic
Public Health
Safe Sex
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Substance-Related Disorders