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Sexual Health, STI and HIV Risk, and Risk Perceptions Among American Indian and Alaska Native Emerging Adults

Prevention Science
Steven Paul Hafner, Stephanie Craig Rushing


Emerging adulthood (18–25) is a period of increased risk for adverse sexual health outcomes. While anyone in this age group is at elevated risk, American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth and emerging adults face unique factors that influence their risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). To address this increased risk among AI/AN youth, culturally appropriate interventions are necessary. This study reports the results of a video-based sexual health intervention designed specifically for AI/AN youth and emerging adults (15–24 years old) on risk changing perceptions. This intervention was evaluated using a group-randomized design with three conditions: (1) fact sheet alone, (2) fact sheet and video, and (3) fact sheet, video, and facilitated discussion. Using data from 199 AI/AN emerging adults (18–24 years old) who participated in the Native VOICES evaluation, we used multiple multinomial logistic regressions to determine if changes in risk perceptions were significantly different between study arms from baseline to post-intervention, and from post-intervention to 6-month follow-up. Few differences in STI risk perceptions were found at baseline and observed differences in STI risk perceptions between study arms disappeared after including baseline risk perceptions in the model. Similarly, few differences in HIV risk perceptions between study arms were observed at baseline, and all differences in HIV risk perceptions between study arms disappeared after controlling for baseline risk perceptions, demographics, and baseline sexual risk factors. Overall, this study points to the need for interventions that specifically address the behaviors, social and sexual contexts, and risk perceptions of AI/AN emerging adults, an age group for whom few culturally relevant sexual health interventions exist.

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