Senoritas and Senioritahs: AIDS/HIV, Hepatitis and Substance Abuse Prevention for Culturally Diverse Minority College Students

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Sande Gracia Jones, PhD, ARNP, ACRN, CS, FAAN1
Katherine Chadwell, MSN, GNP, GCNS, CCRN, CPHQ1
Carol A. Patsdaughter, PhD, RN, ACRN, CNE1
Margaret Hamilton, DNS, RN1
Irene DeJesus, BS1
Robert Malow, PhD2
1College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Florida International University, Miami, FL
2Stempel School of Public Health, Florida International University, Miami, FL

Learning Objective 1: describe at-risk health behaviors of a culturally diverse group of ethnic minotity students.

Learning Objective 2: discuss the SENORITAs program amd the SENIORITAHS program at a Hispanic-serving institution (HSI) of higher education.

Purpose: Findings from a survey conducted with 1,300 students at an Hispanic-serving institution (HSI) revealed high-risk sexual behavior among college students, and past-month alcohol use was strongly associated with risky sexual behavior (Trepka et al., 2008). The purpose of this study is to develop an age- and culturally-appropriate educational intervention to address these at-risk health behaviors. The intervention will be adapted from the SENORITAS project for Latina students (Jones et al., 2008) and called Student Education Needed In Order to Reduce Infection and Transmission of AIDS/HIV, Hepatitis and Substance Abuse (SENIORITAHS). Funding is from SAMHSA through the Minority Education Institution (MEI) initiative. The theoretical framework is Fischer and Fischer’s (1994) Information-Motivation-Behavioral skills (IMB) model. Stage 1 of the model is the elicitation stage, where the target population is surveyed to understand their perceptions of reasons underlying the unsafe health practices.  

Methods: After IRB approval, a focus group was held with 38 undergraduate and graduate nursing students to elicit their thoughts on why unsafe sexual practices and alcohol were problems on campus.

Results: Students reported that unsafe sexual activity was related to the Hispanic culture, where men are encouraged to become sexual active, women try to please their men, and men often do not want to use condoms. However, an additional concern that was reported was underage drinking by students attending area nightclubs. Students stated that “free drinks for ladies” and no checking of age for club attendees was a routine occurrence.

Conclusion: Although cultural characteristics may contribute to unsafe sexual practices, environmental and social factors that encourage underage drinking by college students is also a concern. Campus-based education is needed to both inform students of the risk related to unsafe sexual activity, and to also dialogue about the effect of drinking on decision-making in relation to sexual activity.