Researchers are arguing that an intervention that addresses HIV testing and beliefs needs to happen so that the demographics of those age 50 and older, as well as Hispanics can be tested.
In the study published in the journal Medicine, Brandon Brown, an HIV researcher at the University of California Riverside’s School of Medicine, notes that there are many barriers preventing people from getting tested – including the stigma behind the test on part of both patient and provider.
"These interventions must debunk beliefs among physicians that older adults are not sexually active, and beliefs among older adults that only others are at risk of HIV," said Brown. "Timely interventions, including HIV testing, are especially important for the Hispanic community in the United States because Hispanics are disproportionately affected by HIV. They account for 20 percent of HIV infections, with a rate of three-to-four times that of whites."
Brown and researchers used data from the 2014 Get Tested Coachella Valley Community Survey and collected information from nearly 1,000 participants in regard to demographics, sexual history, HIV testing history, thoughts on who should get tested, and future preferences for HIV testing.
"We found stigma, education, provider recommendations, risk perceptions, and cost are among major factors contributing to accepting HIV testing and intention to receive HIV testing," Brown said.
When it came to results, many of the untested participants did not believe they were at risk. Those in the age group of 50 or older were less likely to be tested for HIV compared to those younger than 50.
"Our recommendations to health care providers are that they talk directly with their patients during clinical visits about HIV prevention and HIV risk, and that they routinely offer HIV screening as part of primary care," expressed Brown.
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