Online Program

Shades of black: Investigating within-group differences in African-American women's HIV risk behavior

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 4:46 p.m. - 5:02 p.m.

Valerie Newsome, PhD, Behavioral Sciences Training Program, National Development and Research Institutes, New York, NY
Collins O. Airhihenbuwa, PhD, MPH, Department of Biobehavioral Health, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
Background: HIV is a leading cause of death for African-American women. However, most of the published research on HIV prevention is based on findings from studies on African-American women in the low-education/low-income group. This study examined how the impact of gender-ratio imbalance in the African-American community influences HIV risk behavior in unmarried, college-educated African-American women ages 25-34, an understudied group. Quantitative data from a nation-wide internet-based survey was used to develop a new scale to measure perceptions of gender-ratio imbalance in this group with regard to HIV prevention.

Method: 262 unmarried, college-educated African-American women age 25-34 completed our internet-based survey. Pearson correlations were used to investigate the relationship between Gender-Ratio Imbalance (GRI) and Sexual Self-efficacy. Hierarchical Logistic Regression was used to identify variables predicting non-condom use in African-American college-educated women.

Results: A low negative relationship was identified between GRI and Sexual Self-efficacy. Not currently being in a relationship, not having children, and being in a work environment that is not predominately African-American predicted greater likelihood of condom use at last sex. Having a current boyfriend or serious relationship predicted greater likelihood of non-condom use at last sex.

Conclusions: This study presents context for decision-making around non-condom use among this group of women. Demographic and HIV risk behavior profiles of participants' male partners were created. Future directions for the development of a psychological scale to measure gender-ratio scale, as well as implications for HIV prevention research investigating within-group differences among African-American women for HIV intervention are presented.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Identify relationships between structural influences such as the Gender-Ratio Imbalance on HIV risk behavior in unmarried, college-educated African-American women. Differentiate socio-cultural motivators for risk for low vs highly educated African-American women. Discuss the need for analysis of within-group differences in health risks for African-Americans in prevention planning and research.

Keyword(s): Research, Community Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been trained in the social and cultural influences on health behaviors. I have worked in the field of HIV prevention for 3 years, and have been the primary investigator on multiple studies addressing these issues.
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.