Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)


School of Social Work

Degree Name


First Advisor

Dr. Sarita Davis


This study examines whether or not HIV/AIDS education, socioeconomic status, and/or self-esteem affect the frequency with which African American women between the ages of 18 and 24 participate in risky sexual behavior. HTV is an acronym for the human immunodeficiency virus, which is the virus that leads to AIDS, the acquired immune deficiency syndrome. AIDS is one of the most deadly diseases affecting the world today and is the number one killer of African American women between the ages of 18 and 24. HIV/AIDS prevention education has been the major outreach tool used to combat the spread of this disease. However, prevention education does not seem to be impacting this population significantly, which leaves many searching for other answers for outreach.

The purpose of this study was to find out whether or not HIV/AIDS prevention education plays a major role in deterring this population from participating in risky sexual behavior or if self-esteem and socioeconomic status are more influential in this population's sexual decision making. A predominantly African American college campus in Atlanta, Georgia provided a sample of 94 African American women between the ages of 18 and 24. Each participant completed a questionnaire regarding their HIV/AIDS prevention education level, their socioeconomic status, and their level of selfesteem. The data collected via the questionnaire were analyzed using descriptive, as well as, cross tabulation analysis. A focus group often participants was also convened to explore the responses on the questionnaires more in-depthly. While the findings did not show a significant relationship between socioeconomic status (SES), HIV/AIDS knowledge and risky sexual behavior, there was evidence of a relationship between selfesteem and risky sexual behavior. Implications for measuring SES and self-esteem in this population are discussed.

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