241775 Sexual behaviors among Black young adults: Gathering sensitive information in focus groups

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 9:10 AM

David H. Jolly, DrPH , Department of Health Education, North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC
Caleb Parker, MA , Behavioral and Social Sciences, FHI, Research Triangle Park, NC
Allison Mathews, MA , Department of Sociology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Monique Mueller, MPH , Behavioral and Social Sciences, FHI, Research Triangle Park, NC
Christopher Reed, BA , Department of Psychology, North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC
Kimberly Gibson-Hooks , Department of Public Health Education, North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC
Alexandria Horne, BA, BS , Department of Public Health Education, North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC
Randy Rogers, MS , Division of Health Education, Durham County Health Department, Durham, NC
Kathleen M. MacQueen, PhD, MPH , Family Health International, Research Triangle Park, NC
Background: LinCS 2 Durham is a community-based participatory research project bringing together Durham's Black community and local scientists to jointly develop a plan for conducting clinical trials for biologically-based HIV prevention strategies. As part of that study, we conducted focus groups to learn more about the sexual behavior of Black young (18-30 year old) adults in Durham.

Methods: We conducted two focus groups with women who have sex with men, one with men who have sex with women, and one with men who have sex with men. Because of the sensitive nature of the topic, each group created a fictional character similar to themselves and their friends. The group answered questions about the character's sexual practices, e.g., number of sex partners, nature of the relationship with each sex partner, type of sex engaged in, use of protection, and perceived risk for HIV/STDs.

Results: Participants described four relationships: main partner, casual partner, one-night stand, and parent of the character's child. Concurrency was common; that is, the character engaged in sex with more than one of these partners' during the same time period. Use of condoms was common with one-night stands, uncommon with main partners and child's parent, and variable with casual partners. There was uncertainty and disagreement among participants about which relationships placed the character at greatest risk.

Conclusions: It is critical to understand the sexual behaviors of groups targeted for HIV prevention. A creative approach can make focus groups an effective method for soliciting candid information about sexual behaviors.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the creation of fictional characters as a strategy for collecting sensitive information in focus groups. 2. Describe four types of relationships identified by Black young adults as common among their peers. 3. Discuss the use of condoms within these relationships.

Keywords: HIV Risk Behavior, African American

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a co-investigator on LinCS 2 Durham. The focus groups discussed in this presentation were conducted as part of this research project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.