Date of Conferral
Youth are having sexual intercourse at an early age and as such, are engaging in risky behaviors that are associated with adverse health outcomes, including HIV infection. Little research has been undertaken to examine the influence of contextual factors on youth intentions to delay sexual involvement. To address that gap, this study aimed to examine the influence of age, gender, race, immigration status, HIV knowledge, HIV-related stigma, concern about HIV, direct exposure to HIV/AIDS, peer pressure, and religious influence on youth intentions to delay sexual involvement. Delayed sexual involvement was conceptualized as youth attitudes towards abstaining from sex, their knowledge of the consequences of sexual involvement, and perceived parent or peer disapproval of the behavior. The theory of reasoned action was used as a framework to guide the study. The cross-sectional study involved secondary data analysis of baseline data pooled from a program evaluation. The sample included 536 urban low-income African American and Latino youth aged 11 to 16 years at high risk of HIV/AIDS. Multiple linear regression analyses revealed that the weighed combination of the predictor variables, age, gender, race, immigration status, HIV knowledge, direct exposure to HIV/AIDS, peer pressure, and religious influence explained the greatest variance of intention to delay sexual involvement (R2 = .246, p < .05). Also observed was a significant relationship between age, gender, and sexual intentions across the regression models. These findings can enhance HIV prevention and social change initiatives because of the potential to impact youth early sexual debut, reduce risky sexual behavior, and consequently decrease the rates of HIV infection among youth.