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Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Risk Behaviors by African American and Puerto Rican Women in the 4th Decade of Life: Substance Use and Personal Attributes

African Americans have the most severe burden of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) of all racial/ethnic groups in the United States. Also, HIV continues to be a serious threat to the health of the Hispanic/Latino community. For prevention purposes, the present study examined the relationship of both cannabis use and self-control with HIV risk behaviors in a sample of African American and Puerto Rican female adolescents, young adults, and adults. Among the total of 343 female participants, half were African American and the other half were Puerto Rican. Logistic regression analyses were used to examine earlier cannabis use as well as self-control and later HIV risk behaviors. High frequency of cannabis use and high self-control measured at ages 19 to 29 were positively and negatively related to having sexual intercourse with someone they just met at ages 32 to 39. Prevention programs should incorporate the role of cannabis use and low self-control as related to HIV risk behaviors. Our results may have particular utility for designing interventions focused on not only cannabis use (a risk factor) but also self-control (a protective factor) as related to HIV sexual risk behaviors.


Jung Yeon Lee, Judith S. Brook and Kerstin Pahl

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