Choosing Unsafe Sex focuses on the ways in which condom refusal and beliefs regarding HIV testing reflect women's hopes for their relationships and their desires to preserve status and self-esteem. Many of the inner-city women who participated in Dr. Sobo's research were seriously involved with one man, and they had heavy emotional and social investments in believing or maintaining that their partners were faithful to them.
Uninvolved women had similarly heavy investments in their abilities to identify or choose potential partners who were HIV-negative. Women did not see themselves as being at risk for HIV infection, and so they saw no need for condoms. But they did recommend that other women, whom they saw as quite likely to be involved with sexually unfaithful men, use them.