The study of HIV-related risk behaviors among adolescents has become an increasingly important area of research. The disproportionate number of young African American and Latina women with advanced HIV disease both nationally and in Los Angeles County supports the need to understand in greater detail factors associated with HIV transmission, HIV associated risk behaviors, and factors that precede or influence risk behavior among adolescent and young adult women of color. This need is amplified by the high rates of teen pregnancy, high levels of STDs, early initiation of sexual activity, and high prevalence of unprotected sexual intercourse reported among young women nationally and in local unlinked surveys. The focus of this CDC-funded survey is to assess the factors that contribute to the increased vulnerability of adolescent females to HIV by exploring the relationships among HIV status, behavioral risk factors, and psychosocial processes that precede these behaviors.
The Young Women's Survey (YWS) is a multi-center collaborative study that will be conducted in Los Angeles, Houston, Miami, Dallas and New York. The CDC will collaborate with the five study sites to develop a national YWS protocol and questionnaire.
- Assess behaviors that place young African-American women at risk for HIV.
- Estimate the association between various HIV risk indicators and HIV serostatus among young African American women.
- Evaluate the association between perceptions of condom use and risk behaviors.
- Evaluate the relationship between knowledge and HIV-associated risk behaviors.
- Asses the relationships between negotiation and communication skills and subsequent risk behaviors.
A sample of 500 African American young women 15 to 24 years of age will be obtained. Age eligible African American women who receive health care services at T.H.E. Clinic in Los Angeles will be offered the opportunity during their clinic visit to enroll in the YWS unless the are returning to the clinic for follow-up medical services. young women who are HIV-infected are eligible if the reason for their clinic visit is not evaluation or treatment of HIV (e.g., if the visit is for family planning, STD treatment, or other reasons not related to HIV). The YWS staff will administer the questionnaire, which elicits information about sexual and drug using behavior, condom use, HIV/AIDS knowledge, attitudes and beliefs, and psychosocial issues relevant to HIV/AIDS. In addition to interviewing the participants, the YWS staff will draw blood for HIV and syphilis testing, as well as provide pre- and post-HIV test counseling. Those participant who test positive for HIV will be referred for appropriate medical care at T.H.E. Clinic.
Wesley L. Ford, M.A., M.P.H.
Denise Johnson, M.P.H.