Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Faye Belgrave, PhD

Second Advisor

Dace Svikis, PhD

Third Advisor

Joann Richardson, PhD

Fourth Advisor

Eric Benotsch, PhD

Fifth Advisor

Fantasy Lozada, PhD


African American women have the highest rates of HIV infection among women of all racial/ethnic groups in the United States, and over 50% of HIV infected young adults are unaware of their infection. HIV testing is a cost-effective mechanism for reducing HIV transmission. Despite this, limited research has been devoted to developing interventions specifically promoting HIV testing. This two-part study proposed to address this gap through developing a culturally tailored HIV testing message aimed at increasing HIV test intentions among young African American women. Study 1 was a quantitative study that examined predictors of HIV testing history and future HIV test intentions among 109 African American women aged 18-24. Measures on sexual behavior, HIV knowledge, HIV conspiracy beliefs, gender role beliefs, gender ratio imbalance beliefs were included in the survey. Next, a culturally tailored HIV testing message was developed based on findings from Study 1 which identified significant predictors of HIV testing and HIV test intentions. Findings revealed that number of sexual partners, perceived barriers, and perceived benefits were significant predictors of past HIV testing. Number of sexual partners, perceived importance of HIV testing, and perceived seriousness were significant predictors of HIV test intentions in the next 3 months. Study 2 compared the exposure effect of the tailored health message to a generic HIV testing message on self-reported future HIV test intentions. Findings revealed no significant differences between the health message groups on future HIV test intentions. There were also no significant differences between groups on the message acceptability outcomes.


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