In this Section
207420 “I got a baby's daddy, but I got friends, too”: Investigating heterosexual African Americans' sexual partnerships
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Background: The purpose of the current investigation was to contextualize the sexual relationships and risk behaviors of heterosexually active African American. Methods: Thirty-eight subjects (20 females and 18 males) aged 18-44 were recruited in a large city in the Southeast to participate in focus group discussions exploring sexual partnerships, condom perceptions, and condom negotiation. Results: Subjects distinguished among at least three partner types –one-night stand, “regular” casual partner, man partner. Partner types were found to shape and influence types of sexual behaviors, perceptions of risk and condom use, condom negotiation. Participants also shared general perceptions about condoms and elucidated situations in which intentions to use condoms were not realized. Gender differences emerged in many of these areas. Conclusions: Findings from this study provide intriguing avenues for future research and important data that can inform the development of novel interventions promoting safer sexual behaviors among heterosexual African Americans. Future studies should further investigate some of the complexities and contradictions that are inherent in African Americans' heterosexual relationships, including 1) how partner types are socially constructed and how sexual behaviors tend to vary according to partner type; 2) how self efficacy and communication skills can be enhanced to increase condom use in the context main and casual sexual partnerships; and 3) how gender influences perceptions of sexual partners, risk behaviors and condom use. Studies addressing these topics will provide invaluable knowledge that can inform the development of efficacious interventions that respond to the cultural norms and unique needs of this high-risk population.
Keywords: African American, HIV Risk Behavior
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently completing my doctoral degree in communication, and I am working as a research assistant on an NIMH funded research project developing an intervention for heterosexual African Americans. My dissertation research is also in this area.
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.