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Nurse researcher receives NIH award to study HIV prevention in young black women

July 30th, 2013
The National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) awarded $267,732 to the University of South Florida College of Nursing to study ways to reduce HIV/AIDS risk in college-aged black women, who are disproportionately affected by the disease. Rasheeta D. Chandler, PhD, ARNP, FNP-BC, assistant professor of nursing at USF, will lead the study.

"Tailoring an HIV Prevention for College-Aged Black Women" will adapt a previously-tested and effective sexual risk reduction approach, Health Improvement Project for Teens (HIP TEENS), to be culturally relevant and appropriate for college-aged African-American women. The research will test if this program, renamed Health Improvement Project for LADIES (HIP LADIES), helps reduce HIV/AIDS risk.

"This study is timely, and will be the template for future intervention studies conducted with black college women," Dr. Chandler said. "The award gives us the opportunity to improve the health of young black women." reports that of the more than 1 million people living with HIV in the United States, 46 percent are African-Americans. In addition, young black women are far more affected by HIV than young women of other races. The rate of new infections among young black females ages 13 to 29 is 11 times as high as that of young white females and four times that of young Hispanic females, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC reports that AIDS is the third leading cause of death among black women ages 25 to 34.

HIP TEENS is a small-group program for young women that uses interactive activities to provide information, motivate and teaches the skills girls need to reduce sexual risk behaviors. It was developed in 2004 by Dianne Morrison-Beedy, PhD, RN, WHNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP, FAAN, senior associate vice president of USF Health and dean of the College of Nursing. A randomized controlled trial led by Dr. Morrison-Beedy and recently published in the Journal of Adolescent Health reported that HIP TEENS significantly reduced sexual risk behavior and pregnancy rates in more than 700 adolescent girls.

"Not only did HIP TEENS reduce sexual risk behavior, we significantly increased sexual abstinence in these girls as well," said Dr. Morrison-Beedy. "HIP LADIES is a critical next step for reducing risk in college-aged young women."

Dr. Chandler's study will specifically target African-American women attending traditional universities and historically-black colleges and universities in the southeastern United States.

"This project is my chance to contribute to reducing the incidence of new HIV cases in young African-American women," Dr. Chandler said. "When you ask why I'm passionate about my research, this is my community, and these are people who've touched my life with their stories."

Provided by University of South Florida

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