Exploring risky sexual behaviors of southern African American men and their readiness for barbershop-based HIV prevention programs

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University of Alabama Libraries

African Americans are disproportionately affected by HIV, and males make up most of the cases by gender. Innovative methods for addressing the gap in the HIV epidemic are needed. Barbershops have been identified as one locale to address health disparities among African American males. Few studies have used barbershops as sites to provide HIV prevention information. Though barbershops have been sites for a few urban-based HIV prevention programs for African American men, none have been inclusive of rural men and only one was conducted in the southern United States. The purpose of this study was to explore the risky sexual behaviors of African American men in Alabama, and assess their readiness for a barbershop-based HIV prevention program. The study was guided by the Theory of Planned Behavior. A paper-and-pencil survey was administered to adult African American males at three barbershops in Alabama. The results of this study suggested that over half the men in the study did not consistently use condoms in the preceding three months. About one-fourth of the men reported having multiple sexual partners, and over half of all sexually active men used drugs and/or alcohol during a sexual encounter in the last three months. Attitudes were a significant predictor of having multiple sexual partners. Overall, the men were moderately ready for a barbershop-based HIV prevention program. Neither engagement in risky sexual behaviors nor the antecedents to engagement in risky sexual behaviors were predictive of readiness for barbershop-based HIV prevention programs. The findings of the study provide valuable insight to stakeholders who are interested in reducing the spread of HIV among African American men. Improving attitudes toward condoms in the barbershop setting may lead to less frequent engagement in risky sexual behaviors, which could curb the HIV acquisition rate among African American males.

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Health education