"Taking Care of Ourselves": The Experiences of Black Women Approaching and Encouraging Male Partners to Test for HIV

J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care. 2017 May-Jun;28(3):327-341. doi: 10.1016/j.jana.2016.10.005. Epub 2016 Nov 1.


Sixty percent of young adults living with HIV in the United States are unaware of their status despite recommendations to screen everyone. Effective approaches to encourage partner testing may increase status awareness. The purpose of our study was to understand young Black women's experiences when encouraging a partner to test for HIV, preferred approaches, and whether interpersonal context influenced the approach. Black women (n = 26) participated in the study in Boston-area focus groups (n = 6). Discussions ranged from difficult and stressful to positive and empowering. A variety of approaches (expressing caring, seeking understanding, leveraging the relationship, ultimatums, subtlety) were described in varied interpersonal contexts. Testing and sharing results fostered trust and relationship growth. If a partner was resistant, some ended relationships while others tested themselves and interpreted their results as their partners' status. Our findings could encourage HIV prevention initiatives to consider varied interpersonal contexts and enhance partner testing.

Keywords: African American women; Black women; HIV prevention; interpersonal context; partner testing; testing discussion.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology*
  • Black People / psychology*
  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • Boston
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis*
  • HIV Infections / ethnology
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Sexual Partners*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States
  • Women's Health
  • Young Adult