183722 LGBT youth service organizations: Is there a relationship between participating in them and HIV/AIDS knowledge, testing behaviors, and serostatus?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Christopher M. Fisher, MA , Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Eric R. Wright, PhD , Center for Health Policy, Department of Public Health, IU School of Medicine, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN
Harold Kooreman, MA , IU Center for Health Policy, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN
BACKGROUND: Public health professionals know the importance of organized youth groups targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals in increasing behavior-specific knowledge of HIV/AIDS and reducing disparities which lead to increased risk of infection. To date, no known studies have attempted to ascertain the longer-term relationships of participating in these groups and HIV/AIDS knowledge, testing, and serostatus.

METHODS: A quantitative, on-line survey targeted LGBT-identified individuals and measured, among other things, HIV status, testing behavior, and knowledge. For analytic purposes, participants (N=101) were divided into two groups: those who had participated in a LGBT youth support organization (n=40) and those who did not (n=61). Chi-square analyses were conducted on HIV status and testing behavior while analysis of variance was applied to HIV knowledge.

RESULTS: HIV/AIDS knowledge test scores showed significant variation between the two groups, F (1,98) =7.636, p<0.01, with those having participated in a youth group scoring, on average, 5.5% better. No significant differences on HIV status or having ever been tested were found. There was a trend suggesting that those having been in youth groups were more likely to have been tested for HIV in the past year, c2(1,N =80) =3.386, p=0.066.

CONCLUSIONS: LGBT youth group participation may have associations with increased HIV/AIDS knowledge and more regular testing behaviors. This may be indicative of longer-term protective habits for those having participated in LGBT youth service organizations. Future research might explore if the personal characteristics of those seeking out LGBT youth organizations are indicative of more protective factors.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the benefits of being a participant of an LGBT youth service organization Discuss specific benefits related to HIV/AIDS knowledge and testing behaviors associated with participation in an LGBT youth service organization

Keywords: HIV Interventions, Youth

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I currently hold an MA from San Francisco State University and am pursuing a PhD at Indiana University. I work as Research Coordinator for the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and have presented at APHA (as well as other national scientific conferences) in the past.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.