Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Faye Belgrave


HIV/AIDS is a growing concern in the African American community. From 2005 to 2008, there was a 12% increase in HIV/AIDS diagnoses among African Americans (CDC, 2010a). African American males have higher rates of HIV/AIDS diagnoses than any other ethnic or racial groups. In 2006, 65% of the HIV/AIDS cases among African Americans were from adult males (CDC, 2010a). These higher rates are in part attributed to higher levels of sexual risk-taking including unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners, and sex with high-risk partners. African American adult men get tested at almost the same rate (52%) as African American women 53% (CDC, 2007). HIV testing is important to the prevention of HIV/AIDS and can result in substantial reductions in risk behaviors (Marks, Crepaz, & Janssen, 2006; Weinhardt, Carey, Johnson, & Bickham, 1999). Masculinity, a man’s concept of what it means to be man, influences engagement in sexual risk-taking behaviors (Bowleg, 2004, Duck, 2009; Lichtenstein, 2004), as well as health-seeking behaviors (Hammond, Matthews, Mohottige, Agyemang, & Corbie-Smith, 2010; Royster, Richmond, Eng, & Margolis, 2006). One form of masculinity, hypermasculinity is related to sexual risk-taking behaviors, especially among young African American males. The purpose of this dissertation was to investigate the relationship between hypermasculinity and sexual risk-taking, and HIV testing among African American males. One hundred twenty-six African American male college students were recruited to participate in an HIV prevention intervention for African American women on a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) campus. Prior to participating in the intervention, participants completed a questionnaire with measures of hypermasculinity, sexual behavior, and HIV testing. The results showed that hypermasculinity predicted frequency of sex. Hypermasculinity and frequency of sex predicted lifetime HIV testing. Frequency of sex and the number of sex partners predicted current HIV testing (in the past month). The interaction between hypermasculinity and frequency of sex was marginally significant. The findings from this research may increase our understanding of sexual risk-taking, improve HIV testing initiatives, and be useful in the development of HIV prevention programs for African American heterosexual males.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2011

Included in

Psychology Commons