In the US about 29% of all people with AIDS are aged 50 and older and by 2015, more than half of all HIV infected individuals will be over the age of 50 (CDC, 2008). The sexual risk behaviors of older people with HIV are a neglected area of research due to the assumption that they are no longer engaging in sexual activity. Very little is known about how age-related physical and psychosocial changes impact sexual and sexual risk behaviors in the older adult living with HIV. The investigator's career goal is to become an independent researcher who designs and implements HIV-prevention interventions for older women with HIV, thereby addressing the gap in prevention needs of older people with HIV. This Career Development Award focuses on strengthening the investigator's substantive knowledge and research skills on Aging and HIV prevention. The investigator will advance her research skills in a project that will explore how aging affects sexual health and sexual risk behaviors among women with HIV. Training goals are to: 1) Develop expertise and advanced knowledge regarding the interrelationships between aging, sexual health, and sexual risk behavior among women with HIV infection;2) Build upon skills in the application of mixed methods approaches by applying them to the design of culturally and developmentally appropriate HIV behavioral interventions;3) Become proficient in methods of HIV prevention program planning and evaluation for PLWHA, including the ethical conduct of HIV prevention research;and 4) Advance as an independent researcher by disseminating research findings and through the submission of grant applications stemming from my career development activities and training. The following specific aims guide the research proposal: 1) To describe the relationship between aging and sexual risk behavior (e.g., unprotected anal or vaginal sex with a partner whose status is unknown or negative) among HIV+ and HIV-women currently aged 50 years and older;2) To identify the psychosocial and interpersonal factors that account for variations in sexual risk behavior among older women with HIV, using mixed methods;and 3) To utilize information from Aim 1 and 2 to adapt and pilot test an evidence-based behavioral intervention to address sexual health and sexual risk among this group of older women.
The investigator's career goal is to develop an independent line of research to inform knowledge of the relationships between aging and sexual risk behavior among women and address existing aging-specific limitations in HIV prevention research. This Career Development Award advances the investigator's knowledge and expertise on Aging and strengthens her skills in HIV prevention to meet the unique needs of older women with HIV.