This study investigated sexual risk behaviors of at-risk males and females in the Philadelphia and Hartford Research and Education on Sexual Health and Communication (Project PHRESH.comm) study. We employed the Theory of Planned Behavior and sexual scripting theory to understand sexual risk behaviors of 18 to 25 year-old Hartford, Connecticut (CT) African Americans. Focus group and sexual relationship life history interviews were coded and analyzed for themes. Seven themes emerged: factors that informed condom use decisions; condom use negotiation; spontaneity and condom use; emotion and sex without condoms; resources and condom use; condom use infractions and partner informing; and knowledge and condom use efficacy. The study revealed that love or concern for a partner’s feelings might alter sexual scripts and intentions to use condoms. Difficulty reconciling condom use with intimacy needs led to sex without condoms. Very importantly, an information deficit seemed to interfere with consistent condom use across relationship types, and among pregnant women in precarious sexual situations suggesting the need for education and re-education about condom use among African American young adults.
Key words: Condom, sex, love, African American.
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