Learning Objective 1: describe experimental methods used to investigate alcohol's effects on young adults’ sexual decision-making and safer-sex negotiation skills during a face-to-face role-pay with an opposite-sex actor.
Learning Objective 2: describe the mechanisms through which alcohol affects HIV-related behavioral skills and sexual acquisition of HIV among young adults.
Methods: Single Latina women (n=75) who were social drinkers, ages 21 to 35 (Mean age = 25.6 years, SD = 4.7) were recruited in San Antonio, Texas. Participants randomly assigned to either no alcohol or alcohol conditions engaged in a face-to-face role play condom negotiation with a male actor. After role-play, participants completed measures of HIV-relevant risk appraisal and sexual decision-making. Interactions were video recorded and coded for efficacy of safer-sex negotiation behavioral skills.
Results: Participants reported role-play interactions were realistic and natural (means = 4.67, 4.86, SD's = 1.76, 1.80 respectively) and that their behavior and responses during the study were extremely accurate and honest (means = 6.34, 6.71, SD's = 0.93, 0.51 respectively). ANOVA found that compared to sober, intoxicated women (mean BAC = 0.073, SD = 0.01) were significantly more interested in having sex with their role-play partner, would feel less worried if condoms were not used, and would consider unprotected sex less irresponsible, F's (1,74) = 4.77, 4.20, 5.49, p's < .05. Intoxicated participants foresaw potential positive consequences of sex with their role-play partner as significantly more likely, F (1,74) = 8.02, p < .01, and were less likely to endorse direct condom negotiation strategies, as compared to sober participants F (1,74) = 7.68, p < .01.
Conclusions: Analyses support the feasibility of using dyad interactions to investigate alcohol's impairment of safer-sex negotiation skills. Results hold implications for theories of alcohol's role in risk taking, and tailoring of prevention programs focusing on alcohol's involvement in HIV transmission.