Professor of Sociology H. Wesley Perkins co-authored a recent article examining HIV testing norms in Uganda.
Written with researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University, Yale University, Mbarrara University, and the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology, the article, “Actual Versus Perceived HIV Testing Norms, and Personal HIV Testing Uptake: A Cross-Sectional, Population-Based Study in Rural Uganda,” was published in the peer-reviewed journal AIDS and Behavior.
The study examines the social norms model Perkins developed with regard to the prevention of high-risk drinking and other risk behaviors, applying it to the problem of HIV/AIDS in Uganda and the need to promote personal testing. Similar to patterns found in Perkins’ other work on social norms, this study finds that a substantial portion of rural villagers in Uganda misperceive the peer norm of getting tested and when they do misperceive the norm they are less likely to get tested themselves.
The results of the study suggest “an opportunity for interventions to emphasize the commonness of HIV testing uptake.”
In addition to his teaching duties at HWS, Perkins is the co-director of the Colleges Alcohol Education Project. His other research interests and publications include studies of family roles and well-being among young adults and comparative studies of social values and religion in Great Britain and the United States. He is also conducting an extensive research project on forgiveness and health in the life course of young and middle-aged adults and a new project on social norms and bullying in adolescence.
Perkins, who joined the HWS faculty in 1978, received a B.A. in sociology from Purdue University, the M.Div. degree from Yale University Divinity School, and the M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from Yale University.