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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
5013.0: Wednesday, December 14, 2005 - Board 8

Abstract #116622

Obstacles to HIV testing and treatment in African and Latino immigrant women in North Carolina

Sharon Morrison, MSPH, PhD, Osato Ogbahon, BA, Mary Gil, BS, Hayley Phillips, BA, and Stephani Tyrance, BA. Department of Public Health Education, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 437 HHP Building, P.O. Box 26170, Greensboro, NC 27402-6170, (336)334-3243, sdmorri2@uncg.edu

Background: Immigrant minority women are least likely to voluntarily get HIV tested or seek treatment when diagnosed HIV positive. Health care providers and public health workers in regions with at-risk immigrant women populations are concerned that current HIV testing and treatment strategies are inadequate to address their needs. The aim of this study was to identify obstacles that prohibit African and Latino immigrant women in North Carolina from voluntary HIV testing and treatment when a positive status is known.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a non-random sample of service providers and women from each ethnic group. Interviews were also conducted with women who served as lay health advisors or HIV/AIDS outreach workers in the communities. Key areas explored were: 1) women's likelihood and reasons for not being tested 2) women's likelihood and reasons for not seeking treatment. Transcribed interviews were analyzed for these themes using AtlasTi qualitative software.

Results: Obstacles to testing and treatment included lack of information, misperceptions about the testing process, limited English proficiency, fear and intimidation by a partner, and stigma within families and communities. Immigration status, fear of deportation, uninsured status, lack of transportation and ability to pay are also obstacles.

Conclusions: Providers may help reduce obstacles to HIV testing and treatment by e.g. offering education and free testing at an apartment complex where immigrant women live to reduce misconceptions, and working more closely with immigrant faith communities to reduce stigma and fear.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Immigrant Women, HIV/AIDS

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

Race and Gender: HIV/AIDS within Vulnerable Communities

The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA