Background: Sexual behavior interventions have been found to reduce sexual risk among HIV-seropositive and high-risk HIV-seronegative women. Methods: This study examined the influence of ethnicity and HIV serostatus on sexual barrier acceptability and use at short-term and long-term follow-up among African American and Hispanic (n=457) women participating in a gender and culturally tailored sexual risk reduction intervention. We hypothesized that sexual barrier acceptability and use would differ between ethnic groups but that this difference would dissipate after intervention participation. We further postulated that HIV-seropositive women would report greater acceptability and use of sexual barriers than seronegative women at baseline and that after participation in the intervention, acceptability and use would increase for both serostatus groups. Results: We enrolled 317 African American and 140 Hispanic women, 273 (60%) seropositive and 184 (40%) seronegative. Ethnic differences in the frequency of male and female condom use existed at baseline but were not found at 12-month follow-up. Male condom acceptability was higher among African American women than Hispanic women at baseline and 12-month follow-up. Seropositive women reported higher levels of consistent male condom use, but both ethnic and serostatus groups reported high levels (positive, 40%; negative, 52%) of inconsistent condom use. Most women had little experience with female condoms or lubricating gels and suppositories at baseline. No differences between ethnicities were identified in lubricant use. Conclusions: Results support the use of a culturally tailored intervention among these populations to increase sexual barrier use and reduce sexual risk.
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