GREENSBORO, N.C. -- At barbershops, you hear a lot of buzzing and laughter, but not a lot of conversations about healthy sexual behavior and STD prevention.
They're all topics that might be taboo.
UNCG professor Tanya Coakley leads a study to encourage dads talk to their sons about avoiding sexual health risks called Barber Shop Talk: Fathers & Youth Education Health Success.
According to the CDC, Black men within the ages of 13 and 29 account for 50% of HIV infections in youth in the U.S.
Those are the kind of numbers Coakley’s team are trying to change.
"Typically fathers don’t even begin the conversation and so we want to educate them not only about the knowledge of HIV and STD prevention, but also how to approach their sons to begin that talk," Coakley said.
The dads participating in the study seem to appreciate the encouragement.
"I think it’s great," said Gerald Carter, a customer at Blendz Barber Studio in Greensboro. "The fact that you know these are college guys, that they’re going to, you know, especially an open forum like a barbershop where everything is open." He emphasized.
Coakley and her team believe that for African American dads and their sons, barbershops are actually a safe space for them to spark any conversation.
The barbershops encourage it too.
Over 65 barbershops in Greensboro, Reidsville and Charlotte are currently partnered with the study.