Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


The purpose of this study was to gain further understanding of the attitudes of teens and their service providers toward the HIV/AIDS crisis, currently affecting large numbers of mostly black and Hispanic male and female adolescents engaged in heterosexual sexual relationships. This study focused on adult providers of services to adolescents in Rhode Island in order to gain a clearer understanding of the complex psychosocial issues of a complex disease, and a complex age group, including the special vulnerabilities of at-risk adolescents, and to explore what efforts at prevention and early treatment are being carried out, what efforts are recommended, and what are the attitudes and concerns of both adolescents and their service providers towards this issue. This qualitative, exploratory study was conducted by interviewing fifteen adult service providers who were working with adolescents in Rhode Island. Major findings from this study showed all fifteen subjects to be committed and concerned for the adolescents in their care in regards to HIV/AIDS issues, although they demonstrated varying levels of involvement with HIV/AIDS treatment or preventative efforts. Subjects discussed difficulties in preventing this disease which includes psychological factors such as at-risk teen behaviors, societal stigmas surrounding this disease, and political and religious influences such as emphasis on abstinence-only sex education programs. The need for leadership, political change, further research, and collaborative efforts from many disciplines such as medicine, education and social work was highlighted by this study.


iv, 57 p. Thesis (M.S.W)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2007. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 47-50).