Dr. Gwendolyn Childs’ research focuses on approaches for reducing the risks of sexually transmitted infections in adolescent African American girls with an emphasis on sexual decision-making and risk-taking among African American girls ages 12 to 14 years living in the Deep South region of the U.S. Using community-based participatory and qualitative research methods, Dr. Childs’ work has documented the age of onset of sexual activity in this population of young adolescents, as well as common cognitive representations of adolescent pregnancy, virginity, romantic relationships, adolescent sexual norms, sexual behavior of peers, and peer pressure to be sexually active, all of which informed the next stage of her program of research aimed at relationship decision-making. Dr. Childs has served as a national board member of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, which sets the agenda for HIV/AIDS nursing nationally and internationally for research, education, practice, and public policy efforts. She is also a member of the editorial board for the Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care.
Sexual decision-making; risk-taking behavior; adolescent sexual behavior; STD prevention; sexual risk reduction