Addressing Sexual Health among Black College Women: Results of a HIV-Prevention Intervention Group Pilot Randomized Control Trial



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The HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to affect the lives of many, with African American women being uniquely at risk when compared to women from other racial groups. Black/African American women have a higher proportion of cases at all stages of the virus (CDC, 2016a). The primary form of HIV contraction among this group is by way of heterosexual contact with an at-risk sexual partner. However, Black women may not be fully aware of the potential risks inherit in their sexual relationships. The epidemic calls for approaches, resolutions, and interventions to stop the spread and increase of diagnoses among African American heterosexual women. The primary purpose of this study was to test the feasibility and acceptability of a group-based HIV-prevention intervention for young African American college women (ages 18 to 29). Using the theoretical foundations of Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) and the Theory of Gender and Power (TGP), the intervention educated participants about HIV-related information and transmission, taught communication skills related to assertive expression of safer sex practices, and addressed the unique intrapersonal, interpersonal, and contextual factors that impact Black college women. The intervention was culturally specific, gender appropriate, educational, and engaging. In the pilot study, participants were randomly assigned to either an experimental intervention condition or a no-attention control condition. Data on primary and secondary variables were collected at baseline and two months post-intervention to test the main hypothesis that the pilot study was feasible and acceptable among the target population. It was expected that the study would demonstrate that the intervention could be successfully carried out and be undertaken on a larger scale in the future. It was also hypothesized that a pilot version of a sex-risk reduction intervention that is gender-appropriate, culturally-relevant and skill-building would show a trend of increased consistent condom use, condom use self-efficacy, sexual communication, sexual relationship power, condom use intentions, and HIV knowledge (secondary measures) compared to the no-attention control group condition. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Measures of mean and variance including standard deviations (SD) and ranges were used to describe the full range of data at baseline and at follow-up across two conditions and at two time points. The outcome data for this study were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS/Mac version 23.0 for IBM PC/MAC and PS/2, SPSS, Inc., Armonk, NY, 2015). Qualitative data in the form of participant and facilitator feedback were used to analyze intervention feasibility and acceptability. The findings of this pilot study suggest that the delivery of a theoretically-based and culturally-relevant intervention is feasible within a university college setting and that the content of the intervention was accessible to participants. Additionally, there was an overall trend in increased condom use rate regardless of condition placement. In addition, intervention participants reported increased condom use self-efficacy, intention to practice safer sex, relationship control, decision-making dominance and HIV knowledge at follow-up.



HIV-prevention, Interventions, Black women, College women, Sexual health, Pilot randomized control trial