Relationship of psychosocial factors to HIV risk among Haitian women

Robert M. Malow, Theresa Cassagnol, Robert McMahon, Terri E. Jennings, Victoria G. Roatta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This study describes the prevalence of HIV risk behaviors among low- income, Haitian women, identifies theoretically relevant mediating psychosocial HIV risk predictors, and provides formative data for developing culturally and gender sensitive interventions for this distinctive, high risk, and understudied population. Confidential interview surveys were administered to 101 women of Haitian descent while they awaited their medical appointments at a local low-income, community medical clinic. Moderately high levels of sexual risk behavior (i.e., unprotected sex with nonmonogamous partners; multiple lifetime partners) were reported. On average, these women reported a belief in their HIV susceptibility, relatively little HIV-related anxiety, somewhat inadequate levels of communication regarding safer sex practices, and lack of adequate confidence in their ability to negotiate safer behaviors in sexual encounters. Both personal and partner condom attitudes were unfavorable and these attitudes predicted condom use levels. It was concluded that interventions need to be developed for Haitian women to improve their attitudes toward condom use and their confidence in negotiating safer sexual practices. However, these interventions cannot be developed in a vacuum. Although it is crucial to consider the woman's individual attitudes and behaviors, it is also important to consider the male partner's attitudes toward sex and the woman's relationship with her male partner within the context of Haitian culture. Only by determining and targeting important potential motivations for safe sex within the cultural context can we most effectively reduce HIV sex risk behavior in Haitian women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-92
Number of pages14
JournalAIDS Education and Prevention
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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