HIV Screening Attitudes and Practices Among Adult Black American Women: A Template for Fighting the Global AIDS Epidemic

Tuesday, 31 July 2012: 3:50 PM

Launette Woolforde, DNP, RN
Health and Behavior Studies - Nursing Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to identify three factors that impact attitudes about HIV screening and HIV screening behavior among Black American women.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to apply the strategies used in this study to examine HIV screening attitudes and behaviors among varied, diverse populations.

Purpose: Since the beginning of the global epidemic, more than 25 million people have died from Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and another 33.4 million have the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) (UNAIDS, 2010). Women represent over half of adults living with HIV (, 2011). In the US alone, Black women represent 67% of reported HIV cases among women.  HIV screening is critical in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships of perceived susceptibility, medical mistrust, perceived racism, and attitudes about HIV screening (factors known to influence screening behavior in other conditions) to voluntary HIV screening behavior in adult Black American women.

Methods: This descriptive-correlational, cross-sectional study framed around the Health Belief Model (Rosenstock et al, 1988), compared adult Black women who had been screened for HIV in the past year to those who had not. The study was conducted at α =.05; power of .80. Subjects were recruited online and during recruitment sessions in New York.  The survey packet was comprised of valid and reliable instruments; Perceived Susceptibility to AIDS Scale, Group Based Medical Mistrust Scale, Racism and Life Experiences Scale-brief version; HIV Testing:  attitudes and barriers scale; National Survey of Family Growth Cycle 6 main study, female questionnaire -section H, part 5; and a demographics questionnaire. Correlational and regression analyses were performed.

Results: Chi square and T-tests revealed significant relationships between screening behavior and aspects of perceived susceptibility (p<.05), medical mistrust (p=.01), perceived racism (p<.01), attitudes (p< .01), age (p<.01) and marital status (p<.05). Logistic regression identified the best predictors of screening behavior as aspects of perceived susceptibility, attitudes, and age.

Conclusions: This study provides critical insight about factors impacting HIV screening attitudes and practices that researchers must consider in order to design successful targeted interventions to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS.