HIV and AIDS Research Journal

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Just: An Indicator of Minimized Value of the Sexual Act

Disparate rates of HIV/STIs transmission to African American women through heterosexual sex persist. Behavioral scientists do not know how African American women perceive sexual risk; thus, efforts continue to gain better understanding. Qualitative methods were used to discern how linguistics used by African American women may indicate perceptions of minimized value of sex. Interviews with 30 eligible African American women who were 18-29 years, sexually active, and substance users took place during emergency department visits. Interviews were professionally transcribed, coded, and organized into themes. Inter-coder reliability was assessed (Cronbach’s Alpha = 0.723). The term ‘just’ was noted 89 times; 22/30 women used ‘just’ in a way that minimized the perceived value of sex when describing sexual experiences. Quotes included statements that minimized sex as a tool for physical pleasure, an adrenaline rush, a way to avoid boredom, a temporary fix, and a way of escaping stressful realities. Identification of a minimized value of sex among African American women is important and can empower healthcare providers through improved cultural competency when engaging them in sexual discussions.

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