Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Exhibit Hall NA Poster Sessions (Tampa Convention Center)
Self-protective behaviors are a mainstay among strategies advocated for sexual health, particularly in the prevention of sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy. The purpose of this study was to assess sexuality-related self-protective behaviors among African American college students attending a historically black university in the southeast. The Health Protective Sexual Communication Scale (Catania, 1995) was completed by 226 students enrolled in a required freshman-level personal health course during the fall semester. The 10-item questionnaire employed a 5-point Likert scale to determine how frequently students engaged in self-protective behaviors. Data were entered into a personal computer and SPSS was utilized to derive descriptive statistics and Chi-square analysis on response frequencies for males and females. Results indicated the most common self-protective behavior was abstinence (52%) followed by telling a new sex partner that they would not have sex unless a condom was used (87%), asking a new partner about using a condom before intercourse was initiated (84%), talking with a new partner about getting to know one another better before becoming intimate (80%), asking a new partner if they had any sexually transmitted diseases before initiating sex (79%), and asking a new partner about the number of previous sex partners they had (77%). Females were significantly more likely than males to tell a sex partner that they would not have sex unless a condom was used (p < .05, 13.393) and to talk to a new sex partner about getting know one another before becoming intimate (p < .01, 19.312). Findings indicate strong adherence to self-protective behaviors among this group and suggest a need for continuing health education to help ensure safer sex practices continue as abstinent students become sexually active.