Date of Conferral





Public Health


Jeanne Connors


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has become one of the world's most serious health and development challenges. It is important for African American female students who attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), to engage in routine HIV testing and know their HIV status based on the high prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS among African American women and the risk of engaging in risky sexual behavior in a college. This qualitative study was developed to help gain a better understanding of how African American female students who attend HBCUs make the decision to engage in HIV testing and their attitudes toward HIV testing. Face-to-face individual interviews were conducted to collect data from African American female students who attend a HBCU. By using the theory of reasoned action and planned behavior (TRA/TPB), behaviors, intentions, attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioral control were explored by addressing questions and topics related to attitudes and decision making toward HIV testing. The women interviewed in this study had accepting and positive attitudes toward HIV testing. Perceived risk level was the leading a factor in making the decision to be tested for HIV among participating women. Understanding how these factors affect communities will help public health professionals, educators, community leaders, university personnel, policy makers, community organizations, and researchers develop the most effective strategies for the development and delivery of HIV testing messages that target African American female students who attend HBCUs.