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J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care. 2018 Jan - Feb;29(1):30-44. doi: 10.1016/j.jana.2017.09.008. Epub 2017 Sep 28.

HIV/STI Prevention Among Heterosexually Active Black Adolescents With Mental Illnesses: Focus Group Findings for Intervention Development.


Heterosexually active Black adolescents with mental illnesses are at increased risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. However, few HIV/STI prevention interventions exist for this demographic. We held seven focus groups (N = 33) to elucidate social, cultural, and psychological factors that influence HIV/STI risk-related sexual behaviors in this understudied population. Seven themes emerged: (a) Blackness and media portrayals, (b) Blackness as a source of cultural resilience and pride, (c) psychosocial determinants of condom use, (d) consequences of engaging in sexual activity, (e) attitudes and beliefs toward sexual behaviors, (f) benefits of sexual activity, and (g) coping mechanisms. Participants also supported the feasibility of and interest in HIV/STI prevention programs integrated with mental health treatment. Transportation, potential breaches of confidentiality, and time were noted barriers to participation. Psychoeducational, skills-based programs are needed to address the sequelae of mental illnesses as they relate to the sexual decision-making process in adolescents.


Blacks; HIV; adolescents; mental health; qualitative research; sexual health

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