What African American Male Adolescents Are Telling Us about HIV Infection among Their Peers: Cultural Approaches for HIV Preventionedit
This study explored the beliefs of African American male adolescents concerning the high rates of HIV infection among their peers and their reasons for those beliefs. In-depth interviews were conducted with a sample of 16 male African Americans, and a thematic analysis of the data was conducted. Half of the participants believed that peers were not becoming infected at higher rates than white youths and reported high rates of sexual risk taking. Conspiracy beliefs and high rates of sexual adventurism for all teenagers were among the reasons offered to support this belief. Participants who believed the uneven incidence rates reported low levels of sexual risk taking. These participants identified early and unsafe sexual activity—in conjunction with social factors such as negative peer and media influences, poor parental supervision, and dangerous neighborhood environments—as contributing reasons for these disparate rates. Sexual behaviors were markedly different among both groups. The implications of these findings are discussed in the context of culturally relevant approaches to prevention of HIV infection among this group.