A new study published in the journal Health Education & Behavior sheds more light on the increased risk of sexually transmitted infections among African American women with researchers findings that the expectation of condom use was less than 50 percent among African American women for all types of sexual encounters, including the riskiest type.
Researchers Julianna Deardorff et. al used a combination of interviews and focus groups to conduct the study. Participants were African American women with low incomes who had had an average of 1.2 sexual partners in the past month. Their average age was 20.4 years old. While the participants in the study labeled love, feelings, and fun as their top reasons for sexual encounters, expectations for condom use were the lowest when women were pressured to have sex, for example when they were inexperienced or controlled by peers or sexual partners. "Findings highlight the need for tailored interventions to increase condom use in casual relationships, where perceived risk is already high, and in primary relationships, where motivations for condom use may be low." the authors wrote. "Interventions that address mediators of sexual risk, including self-esteem and coping, may be more effective than those focusing solely on risk perceptions."