The HIV/AIDS pandemic continues to challenge the African American community with disproportionate rates of infection, particularly among young women ages 25 to 34 years. Development of a preventive HIV vaccine may bring a substantial turning point in this health crisis. Engagement of the African American community is necessary to improve awareness of the effort and favorably influence attitudes and referent norms. The Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) may be a useful framework for exploration of community engagement outcomes including future attendance, community mobilization, and study participation. Within the context of HIV vaccine outreach, we conducted a cross-sectional survey in early 2007 with 175 African-American adults (≥ 18 years). Confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling were performed and the findings support the potential of the model in understanding behavioral intentions toward HIV vaccine research.