I am committed to a career in HIV/STD prevention research. To become a fully independent investigator, I am applying for the NIMH Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01) to augment my training and research in HIV/STD prevention research for vulnerable adolescents. Towards this goal, I will participate in courses, workshops, seminars, and mentoring meetings to enhance my existing knowledge and research skills, and acquire new knowledge and research skills specific to the design, implementation, adaptation and evaluation of HIV/STD prevention programs for adolescents. My proposed research plan, to be conducted at Emory University and the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness, in Atlanta, Georgia, with the guidance of my Mentors (Primary Mentor: R. DiClemente, Co-Mentors: G. Wingood and S. Kalichman), can contribute significantly to the field of adolescent HIV prevention science in substantive and practical ways. Study 1 is a mixed-method study patterned after research conducted by my Co-Mentor (Dr. Kalichman), designed to: 1) identify the proportion of African-American female adolescents exposed to an HIV intervention that do not change their condom use, and 2) describe the personal, behavioral and psychosocial factors associated with "failure to change" condom use following an HIV intervention. Data from Study 1 directly informs Study 2. In Study 2, I will adapt an existing effective gender and culturally tailored adolescent HIV intervention developed by my Mentors (Dr. DiClemente, &Dr. Wingood), to enhance its efficacy for promoting condom use among African-American female adolescents who did not change their condom use after participating in an HIV intervention. The adaptation process will be guided by a sequential and systematic adaptation model, developed by Drs. Wingood and DiClemente, to facilitate the adaptation process. Study 2 is also a pilot test of the effectiveness of the adapted SiHLE intervention for this subgroup of non-responsive adolescents. The findings from the two studies in this application will make significant contributions to our understanding of adolescent sexual risk behavior and the development of effective HIV interventions which could modify the risk trajectory for HIV acquisition in hard-to-change adolescents.
HIV prevention interventions tailored for African-American adolescent females who are non-responsive to sexual behavior risk-reduction interventions are urgently needed as these individuals are at especially high- risk for contracting HIV/STDs. The adoption of the adapted SiHLE intervention by other health departments and community-based AIDS service organizations has the potential to reach a broad audience and a population substantially impacted by the HIV epidemic.
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