Research in nursing & health 2017 02 21() doi 10.1002/nur.21789
African-American males ages 13 through 24 are disproportionately affected by sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), accounting for over half of all HIV infections in this age group in the United States. Clear communication between African-American parents and their youth about sexual health is associated with higher rates of sexual abstinence, condom use, and intent to delay initiation of sexual intercourse. However, little is known about African-American fathers’ perceptions of what facilitates and inhibits sexual health communication with their preadolescent and adolescent sons. We conducted focus groups with 29 African-American fathers of sons ages 10-15 to explore perceived facilitators and barriers for father-son communication about sexual health. Participants were recruited from barbershops in metropolitan and rural North Carolina communities highly affected by STIs and HIV, and data were analyzed using content analysis. Three factors facilitated father-son communication: (a) fathers’ acceptance of their roles and responsibilities; (b) a positive father-son relationship; and (c) fathers’ ability to speak directly to their sons about sex. We also identified three barriers: (a) fathers’ difficulty in initiating sexual health discussions with their sons; (b) sons’ developmental readiness for sexual health information; and (c) fathers’ lack of experience in talking with their own fathers about sex. These findings have implications for father-focused prevention interventions aimed at reducing risky sexual behaviors in adolescent African-American males. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.