Male incarceration and women's sexual health: A comparative qualitative study among heterosexual African-American women
Methods: This qualitative study consisted of semi-structured interviews with 40 heterosexual African-American women living in two neighborhoods: one with a high rate of incarceration and a low male:female sex ratio and one with lower incarceration rate and sex ratio close to 1.00. Interviews covered several topics, including perceptions of local male incarceration, sex ratios, and relationships. Interviews were transcribed verbatim. Data were analyzed using grounded theory methods.
Results: Preliminary results suggest that neighborhood rates of male incarceration influenced participants' partnerships by affecting the availability of desirable male partners. In the census tract with a lower rate of incarceration other factors (e.g. men being married) contributed to a reduced number of available men. The number of available men (either shaped by incarceration or marital status) had an impact on the commitment and purpose of partnerships and the participant's sexual decision-making; many women were unable to negotiate safer sex practices with their partners.
Conclusion: This study illuminates pathways through which high incarceration and the number of available men produce vulnerability to STI/HIV among African-American women. Risk-reduction interventions targeting this group should consider the number of available men.
Learning Areas:Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Describe sexual partnership formation and maintenance in two neighborhoods: one with a high rate of male incarceration and a low male to female sex ratio and one with lower male incarceration rate and sex ratio close to 1.00. Compare the processes through which neighborhood rates of male incarceration influence African-American women’s sexual partnerships and sexual decision-making in two neighborhoods: one with a high rate of male incarceration and a low male to female sex ratio and one with a lower male incarceration rate and a sex ratio close to 1.00.
Keyword(s): HIV/AIDS, Incarceration
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator on the federally funded study "Male Incarceration, the Health Care Service Environment and Sexual Health" from which the present data was drawn. Among my scientific interests are the social determinants of sexually transmitted infections and HIV.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.