Outcomes of a Behavioral Intervention to Increase Condom Use and Reduce HIV Risk Among Urban African American Young Adults

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African Americans comprise nearly half of people in the United States living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) but compose one tenth of the population. Infection rate among young African American adults is 11 times that of Whites. The Color It Real Program was a seven-session, weekly administered, age-specific, and culturally tailored intervention designed to provide HIV education and address behavioral motivations (risk awareness, decisional balance exercises, partner negotiation, and attitudes) associated with HIV risk among African Americans ages 18 to 24 years in Atlanta, Georgia. Effectiveness was assessed through a quasi-experimental study design that consisted of intervention (n = 88) and control (n = 52) groups completing a 45-item survey. When controlling for gender and education, repeated measures analysis of variance revealed that the intervention group had significant increases in HIV transmission knowledge (F = 4.84, p = .0305), condom use, and intentions to use condoms (F = 4.38, p = .0385). Risky sexual behavior means did not significantly differ between groups (F = 1.44, p = .2331). Results indicate the value of culturally tailored educational strategies toward improved HIV knowledge and adoption of risk reduction strategies. Future studies investigating the differential impact of programs by gender and sexual orientation are also critical. Continued innovation and tailoring of risk reduction strategies for minority young adults will contribute to reducing HIV incidence and prevalence over the life course.

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