Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Elizabeth Bird, Ph.D.


Barriers, Sexually transmitted infections, Behavior, Implementation, Culture, Risk


This paper explores some of the factors that influence whether African American female college students implement safe sex knowledge. High rates of HIV/AIDS and other sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) in the black community and the overrepresentation of individuals under the age of 25 in sexually-transmitted infection (STI) reports indicate the need for research that investigates the physical, social, and cultural aspects of high-risk sexual behaviors and the factors that influence them for this group. African American female college students present a unique challenge to sexual health educators; a challenge that has been relatively under acknowledged and under addressed in research and scholarly literature. This omission from research is likely the result of assumptions that suggest that the structural barriers that greatly impact the use of sexual health knowledge in low-income African American women do not exist for female college students from the same racial/ethnic background. However, focus group and survey data, collected during this study, suggest that this group may in-fact share some structural barriers with low-income African American women since financial and cultural barriers that may have existed in their communities do not necessarily become obsolete upon entering college.