Title

Women HIV sexual risk takers: related behaviors, interpersonal issues, and attitudes.

Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

1-1-1998

Abstract

HIV and AIDS is a growing health risk for heterosexual women, particularly women of color (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1997). Our research identified 5 types of HIV sexual risk taking in 3 independent samples of adult women from a New England Community: Group A women were noted by low to moderate levels of the 4 risk markers (i.e., unprotected vaginal sex, perceived partner-related risk, number of sexual partners, and unprotected anal sex); Group B women reported very high frequency of unprotected vaginal sex; Group C women were characterized by unprotected anal sex; Group D women had high perceived partner risk; and Group E women reported extremely high levels on all 4 HIV risk markers. Sexual risk groups were validated by demonstrating significant differences among groups on relevant behaviors, interpersonal experiences, and attitudes. Compared to other women, higher risk types reported greater behavioral risk practices (substance use, prostitution, diverse sexual experience), interpersonal risk experiences (sexual abuse, violence), initiation sexual assertiveness, and attitudinal risks (psychosocial distress). They reported less interpersonal assurance (surety of own and partner's HIV status), sexual assertiveness (for condom use and partner communication), psychosocial strengths (sexual self-acceptance), and transtheoretical readiness for change (condom use efficacy, readiness to consider condoms). Results provide additional support for the multifaceted model of HIV risk and the transtheoretical model. Suggestions for specifically focused interventions are given, depending on the pattern of sexual risk taking.

Publication Title

Women's health (Hillsdale, N.J.)

Volume

4

Issue

4

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