Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

Degree Name



African American women ages 25-44 have been identified as one of the most at risk groups for HIV/AIDS infection. This study examines the factors which contribute to HIV risk behavior, predict HIV risk behavior, and impact HIV risk behavior reduction. Objectives of this study are to identify the types and prevalence of HIV risk behavior in a sample of African American women ages 25-44, and to determine the extent to which seven identified psychosocial variables predict HIV risk behavior in this sample of women. The variables are HIV risk knowledge, perceived HIV risk, risk reduction behavior intentions, perceptions of safer sex peer norms, condom barrier beliefs, conversations with male partners about condom and AIDS concerns, and substance use patterns. Anonymous questionnaires were administered to 148 African American women ages 25-44 who were enrolled in graduate classes at Clark Atlanta University. The purpose was to determine their levels of HIV risk behavior and predictors of HIV risk practices. Results indicate over one half of the women were at high risk for HIV because of inconsistent or no condom use during sexual intercourse and sexual relationships with multiple and high risk male partners. HIV risk was significantly higher among women who held weak behavioral intentions to reduce risk behavior through condom use, perceived more relationship barriers to condom use, believed peer norms did not support condom use, and accurately perceived themselves at high personal risk for HIV infection. HIV prevention and interventions efforts are needed that effectively incorporate attitudes, communication modes, and behavior change methods congruent with the values of African American men and women for whom the efforts are designed. Prevention and intervention should focus on increasing intentions to reduce risk behavior and overcoming barriers to condom use.