Examining the risk factors to HIV/AIDS that serve as barriers to condom use among urban college women of color

Keneca O Boyce, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between barriers to HIV risk reduction and safe sex practices such as condom use among Black (African American, African and Caribbean) and Hispanic college women. The present study has identified gender roles, partner communication, perceived vulnerability to HIV, sexual schema and attitudes toward condom use as factors that contribute to Black and Hispanic women's HIV risk. A cross sectional study, using a self-administered survey was used on a sample of 114 undergraduate college women. Convenience sampling was used to recruit participants from a college, located in an HIV high-risk urban community within the Bronx. Participants were approached at various sites within the college and informed about the nature and purpose of the research. Participants who were Black or Hispanic, female, at least 18 years of age with an undergraduate status, were eligible to participate. To assure anonymity, participants were not asked to provide any unique identifying information, such as their name or address on the surveys. Data collection lasted approximately 4 weeks. Findings revealed that participants had positive attitudes toward condom use, high levels of condom use self-efficacy, high levels of partner communication and low levels of adherence to a traditional feminine gender role. They also reported high levels of sexual esteem (positive regard and confidence in the capacity to experience one's sexuality in a satisfying and enjoyable way), low levels of sexual preoccupation (persistent tendency to be absorbed and obsessed with sexual matters) and, low levels of sexual depression (feeling sadness, unhappiness, and depression regarding one's capacity to relate sexually to another individual). Multivariate analyses of the conceptual model revealed that the barriers to condom use among women in this sample are poor partner communication and negative attitudes toward condom use. This sample of college women, predominantly sophomore and junior, reported using the male condom most frequently but was inconsistent in their condom use. Despite this inconsistency, these women perceived themselves as having little or no vulnerability to HIV. Findings from this study reveal that early intervention among women, focusing on education and communication on HIV/AIDS risks and vulnerability, routes of transmission, adapting positive attitudes toward condom use and improving sexual communication among partners, is essential to minimizing their risks for HIV infection.

Subject Area

Social work|Public health|Womens studies|Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology|African Americans

Recommended Citation

Boyce, Keneca O, "Examining the risk factors to HIV/AIDS that serve as barriers to condom use among urban college women of color" (2006). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3214143.