Abstract: Investigating the Personal Agency Among Youth to Curtail HIV Rates (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

437P Investigating the Personal Agency Among Youth to Curtail HIV Rates

Saturday, January 18, 2020
Marquis BR Salon 6 (ML 2) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
Donte Boyd, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Houston, Houston, TX
Camille Quinn, PhD, AM, LCSW, Assistant Professor, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Keith Green, PhD, Assistant Professor, Loyola University, Chicago, Chicago, IL
Bernandine Waller, LMHC, PhD Candidate, Adelphi University, NY
Background/purpose:   Youth are disproportionately affected by HIV compared to other age groups in the US suggesting an epidemic in this population. In reducing rates of HIV, researchers have investigated how self-efficacy can be leveraged in HIV prevention. Moreover, HIV literature has indicated that one’s efficacy promotes the individual’s ability to influence their HIV risk reduction behaviors in a favorable way. However, there is a dearth of literature on what factors influence youth efficacy to combat the HIV epidemic. In reducing the HIV infection among youth, their active involvement, i. e., personal agency is needed, therefore, this study seeks to investigate what factors impact youth efficacy to combat the HIV epidemic.

Methods: The National Survey of Teens and Young Adults (15 t0 24) on HIV/AIDS, a nationally representative survey (N= 1423) was used for this study. Survey data were collected from September 21, 2012- to October 31, 2012, and comprised questions about youth attitudes and beliefs about HIV and other STDs. Youth (ages 15-17) were invited to participate in the survey through their parents. Because of the potentially sensitive subject matter, parents were provided a summary of the survey and asked to provide consent for their teen to participate. A multiple regression was used to explore what factors impact youth efficacy to combat the HIV epidemic.

Results: The overall model was statistically significant R² =.14 F (12, 1395) = 000, p < .001.  The results highlighted a statistically significant relationship between being personally concerned about HIV and the efficacy to combat the HIV epidemic (β .14; p<.001).  There was also a positive association between seeing the end of the HIV epidemic in their lifetime and the efficacy to combat the HIV epidemic among youth (β .14; p<.001).  African American youth have higher efficacy to combat the HIV epidemic in comparison to white youth while holding all other variables constant (β .19; p<.001).

Conclusions/Implications:  Study findings indicate a noteworthy relationship suggesting that youth are personally concerned about HIV, and possess the agency to combat this epidemic in this study sample. Further, youth endorse the interest in ending this epidemic in their lifetime. Therefore, community-based health and social services that enhance their beliefs in both understanding their individual roles in their health and well-being, as well as bolstering their advocacy skills are needed.  Specifically, African American youth could benefit from racially and culturally-tailored approaches that further leverage their existing efficacy regarding HIV eradication among this and other age groups as they are disproportionately affected by HIV. Moreover, African Americans and Latinos tend to live in areas where there are higher concentrations of poverty. Designing community-level interventions and HIV prevention programs that target youth personal agency may be a way to curtail HIV infection rates. Also, structural interventions to improve socioeconomic conditions in these areas may reduce HIV infection rates.