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Improving the health of older African American men in the Deep South

Comfort Enah, PhD, RN - Principal Investigator

National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)

5K01NR013137-03
9/1/2012-8/31/2015


Enah-HeadshotAssistant Professor Comfort Enah, PhD, has been awarded a three-year, K01 grant from NINR for a project titled “Development of an HIV Prevention Game for African American Rural Adolescents.”

Dr. Enah has focused her research on the development of theory-based, culturally-sensitive interventions directed toward African American rural adolescents (AARAs) at risk for contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Her interest in the study of sexual risk behaviors among AARAs and the development of HIV risk reduction interventions stems from her roots in Cameroon Africa where she was exposed to similar rural populations living in poverty and experiencing HIV/AIDS related health disparities.

 Unfortunately, African Americans (AAs) in the rural Deep South continue to experience a disproportionate increase in new HIV/AIDS infection despite the availability of HIV prevention interventions with demonstrated effectiveness. The number of new cases of HIV/AIDS among adolescents is rapidly increasing and more than ever it is important that prevention interventions target young adolescents prior to their becoming sexually active.

 However, few interventions are directed toward young adolescents.  As one might expect, electronic gaming interventions hold promise of being developmentally appropriate for young adolescents. However, research involving the use of such strategies in HIV prevention is quite limited.  Dr. Enah's progress adds to the body of knowledge by developing a proof of concept prototype for an individually tailored, electronic HIV prevention adventure game for young AARAs ages 12-14 years.  Enah will conduct focus groups with the young teens to better understand sociocontextual influences on their sexual risk taking.

 Based on the findings from the focus groups, a draft of intervention components will be developed and programmed into a gaming prototype with the assistance of programming experts; the acceptability and relevance of the prototype will then be assessed by a group of AARAs in a second focus group. The gaming intervention will be designed to improve decision-making and to learn behavior strategies that will assist these young adolescents in avoiding sexual risk behaviors before they become sexually active. Dr. Enah hopes that findings from this research will serve as the basis for future NIH applications to further develop and test the electronic gaming intervention.