Yale University

Understanding Black Women's Experiences of Sexual Satisfaction to Inform HIV Prevention

Principle Investigator(s):

Funder: National Institute of Mental Health
Project period: 07/11/2017 - 07/10/2018
Grant Type: Pilot Project

Abstract Text:

One potential strategy for overcoming barriers to HIV prevention is to “eroticize” safer sex practices while encouraging sexual empowerment. However, despite emerging support for this prevention strategy, no current evidenced-based HIV prevention interventions for Black women pair pleasure promotion (e.g., eroticization and sexual empowerment) with prevention strategies. Thus, the purpose of the current mixed methods study is to conduct formative research that will 1) fill noted gaps in the literature, 2) utilize focus group data to inform the development of a pleasure and prevention model and a related measure, and 3) assess Black women’s interest in and openness to pleasure-focused programming. For phase I (qualitative component), 6-8 focus groups (N=64) will be conducted with heterosexually active self-identified Black (i.e., women of African ancestry) American women between the ages of 18 – 35 (group with increased risk for HIV infection) to define features of and motivations for satisfying heterosexual experiences. For phase II, results from phase I will be used to develop a measure to assess sexual satisfaction related empowerment, knowledge, and peer norms. Utilizing a cross-sectional design, heterosexually active self-identified Black women between the ages of 18 – 35 (N=225) will complete a questionnaire that will assess the nature of relationships between pleasure related factors (identified via the qualitative study) and HIV risk reduction behaviors (i.e., frequency of condom use, number of sexual partners, condom use efficacy, assertive sexual communication efficacy, condom negotiation efficacy, and positive attitudes toward prevention strategies). Results from this innovative study will provide new information about the sexual health of Black women that will support contemporary prevention strategies among the population of women most impacted by HIV in the US.