Pilot Award Recipient: Shawnika Hull, PhD

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Understanding Determinants of Intentions to Utilize PrEP Among Black Women

February 17, 2016
In the District of Columbia, Black women are 50% of females, 1 but they account for 92% of women living with HIV. Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is a strategy for HIV prevention that may be particularly promising for women. Because the primary mode of transmission for women is sexual contact, the fact that condom use requires male cooperation represents a significant barrier to use. Because it is an unobtrusive tool that women can control, PrEP may circumvent important barriers to HIV prevention. However, evidence suggests that Black women are largely unaware of PrEP as a prevention strategy. Thus, there is a critical need to increase PrEP awareness and utilization among Black women in DC. The long-term goal of this research is to develop persuasive communication interventions to promote PrEP uptake and adherence among adult Black women at risk for HIV in Washington, DC.
Persuasive communication design requires a rich understanding of what women know, believe and experience with respect to PrEP. The dearth of research regarding Black women’s knowledge, beliefs and barriers to PrEP uptake inhibits the capacity to develop effective communication. The objective of the proposed research is to identify relevant psychosocial and environmental factors affecting PrEP uptake intentions among Black women at-risk for HIV in DC, ages 20-49. Guided by the Integrative Model of Behavioral Prediction, Aim 1 is to identify salient and relevant environmental factors, attitudinal, normative and efficacy beliefs relevant to PrEP uptake intentions using 6 focus groups (N = 5-8 each). The formative research will inform development of a survey. Aim 2 is to assess knowledge of PrEP and test the relative effects of psychosocial and environmental factors on Black women’s intentions to uptake PrEP. This aim will be achieved using survey methods (N = 250).
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