Date of Award

Spring 2005

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology & Criminal Justice


Applied Sociology

Committee Director

Xiushi Yang

Committee Member

William Agyei

Committee Member

Katrina Wegar

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.S62 W376 2005


HIV/AIDS poses an enormous health threat to African Americans, specifically African American women. According to the Center for Disease Control "1 in 160 African American women are believed to be infected with HIV (Center for Disease Control 1999:1). In 2000, although African American women only represented 12% of the female population, they accounted for 64% of HIV cases reported among women (The White House 2000; National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases 2004).

This study examined HIV/AIDS and African American women and attempted to answer the question: Why are African American women not consistently using condoms to protect themselves against infection from HIV? The suspicion was that African American women did not have an accurate perception of their vulnerability to HIV/AIDS which translated into inconsistent condom use. By examining worry level, chance of having HIV in the next five years, education, employment, and knowledge of HIV, this study sought to see what effect these items might have on condom usage.

This study found that despite their worry level and the belief of the chance of them having HIV in the next five years, African American women were not consistently using condoms. In addition, by looking at social aspects such as education, HIV knowledge, and employment status, only employment status affected condom use. Based on these findings, it's recommended that more economic opportunities be developed and presented to African American women. Without the opportunity to develop economically, African American women will not demand sexual behavior such as condom usage which protects them from potential exposure to HIV.


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