African American college students; African-American females; African American women; College students; Sexual risk; Sexually transmitted infections; Sexually transmitted diseases – Risk factors; Women college students


Community-Based Research | Gender and Sexuality | Immune System Diseases | Medicine and Health | Public Health | Race and Ethnicity | Virus Diseases


Objective: To assess the sexually transmitted infection (STI) awareness, sexual risk behaviors, and related contextual factors of African-American female college students.

Participants: Eighty-nine African-American first year female students attending a majority public four-year college in the southern U.S. participated in the study in Spring, 2006.

Methods: Participants completed an anonymous self-administered paper-and-pencil survey and received a $15 cash incentive.

Results: Participants were highly knowledgeable and aware about STIs and their consequences. While this awareness translated into low levels of risk for many, still others engaged in behaviors and maintained beliefs that could potentially put them at high risk for contracting STIs.

Conclusions: Given the disproportionate rates of STIs among young African-American females, researchers must not ignore the non-behavioral factors (i.e. beliefs and perceptions) that may influence sexual risk behaviors to help in determining optimal methods for intervention and prevention among young African-American females.