Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Social and Behavioral Health

First Advisor

Kellie Carlyle

Second Advisor

Jessica LaRose

Third Advisor

Nicole Corley

Fourth Advisor

Rosalie Corona


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that youth make up a quarter of the sexually active population, yet account for half of the 20 million new sexually transmitted infections in the United States.In 2021, youth age 15-19 living in Virginia’s central region, which includes the Richmond Metropolitan area, had the second highest number of chlamydia cases and fourth highest number of gonorrhea cases among all age groups, with the highest rates among Black youth. The aim of this study is to explore the experiences of Black youth in Richmond, VA with school-based sexual health education (SHE) and their perspectives on engaging in SHE conversations with the “trusted” adults in their families, schools, and communityby conducting semi-structured interviews with Black males attending RPS high schools. The goal of this study is to develop recommendations to inform the creation of a theory-driven, culturally responsive program to increase trusted adults’ intentions to initiate and facilitate age-appropriate and medically-accurate conversations with Black male teens to supplement SHE programs in schools. Study findings indicate that Black teenage boys in Richmond, VA experience consistent inconsistencies in sexual health education, need more comprehensive sexual health education programming, and respect their trusted adults as educators and confidants. The findings of this study demonstrate that comprehensive school-based SHE coupled with supplemental education provided through trusted adults or community partners could be a promising strategy to increase SHE knowledge and condom use, and to reduce sexual health risk taking among Black boys living in Richmond, VA.


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Available for download on Friday, August 09, 2024