Perceptions of Black College Women on Barriers to HIV-Risk Reduction and Their HIV Prevention Intervention Needs

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Abstract

HIV prevention interventions can help college students engage in safe sexual behaviors. We used the Information, Motivation, Behavioral Skills model to frame four focus group discussions with Black women (n = 32) attending a historically Black college/university or a traditional university to understand their HIV prevention needs. Participants wanted clear information about sexually transmitted infections/HIV and access to contraception. Motivators for practicing safe sex were related to cultural and religious expectations, desire to avoid pregnancy, and conscious efforts to defy racial stereotypes. Barriers to practicing safe sex included issues of accountability, stigma associated with accessing HIV testing/prevention services, and media influences. We found general consensus about the need to develop skill-building HIV prevention interventions focused on communication skills, condom negotiation, access to services, and empowerment. We offer insight into culture- and age-appropriate HIV prevention for Black college women to guide the development of future interventions.

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