Friends and other peers appear to have the greatest influence on condom use among young, black men, according to a recent study by researchers at the School of Public Health at Georgia State University.
Inconsistent and incorrect condom use has resulted in black males ages 13 to 24 experiencing higher rates of sexually transmitted infections and HIV, according to the study, “Contextual Factors and Sexual Risk Behaviors Among Young, Black Men,” published recently in the American Journal of Men’s Health. The study’s lead author is Mr. Jamal Jones, a PhD student at the School of Public Health at Georgia State.
The researchers analyzed data collected from adolescent health clinics in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, LA; and in Charlotte, NC. They also looked at factors including the young men’s desire to get a woman pregnant, where and how they lived, and whether they believed their parents were monitoring their behavior.
“Sexual risk increases as young, Black men perceive that more of their friends find sexual risk-taking behavior acceptable,” the researchers stated. “Whether these perceived norms actually mirror reality is not known and thus one potential intervention tact is to provide young, Black men with a more realistic, and more positive, perception of peer norms supporting condom use.”
The study also noted that parental monitoring of adolescents appears to reduce the odds of risky sexual behavior. “[A]ccounting for this may be vital when designing interventions for this population,” the researchers stated.
The study’s authors include Dr. Laura Salazar, associate professor of Health Promotion and Behavior at Georgia State’s School of Public Health, and Dr. Richard Crosby, a professor at the University of Kentucky’s College of Public Health.