Author(s): Gerrard M
Although virtually all major theories of health-protective behavior assume that precautionary behavior is related to perceived vulnerability, the applicability of this assumption to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) preventive behavior has recently been called into question. This article uses qualitative and quantitative methods to review and integrate the literature relevant to the relation between perceived vulnerability to HIV and precautionary sexual behavior. Specifically, the purpose of the article is to determine whether the extent research supports 2 hypotheses regarding this relation; (a) Perceptions of personal vulnerability to HIV are reflections of current and recent risk and precautionary behavior, and (b) these perceptions motivate precautionary sexual behavior. In addition, it examines the conceptual and methodological strengths and weaknesses of the empirical literature on these questions and provides recommendations for future research.