200453 Exploring conspiracy beliefs among African American men and women who are HIV positive

Monday, November 9, 2009

Patricia B. Wilkins, BSN, MSPH , College of Health Sciences, Walden University, Baltimore, MD
The African American community is disproportionately affected by the human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS). A pooled literature review was conducted to answer two key questions: (a) Are conspiracy theories the reason why antiretroviral therapy is stopped and/or started early in the course of the disease to benefit? (b) How do these conspiracy theories or beliefs impact HIV prevention for uninfected individuals and/or partners? Statistical calculations included compiling 2 x 2 contingency tables of studies grouped with the same independent and dependent variables. Odds with a 95% confidence interval and Chi-square distribution were utilized to test the hypothesis that there is no relationship between conspiracy beliefs and an individual's decision to use HAART and/or condoms. Findings supported the concept that HIV positive African American individuals believed in conspiracy theories and it impacted upon their care. Therefore, it is critical for healthcare professionals and public health educators to address the cultural differences, beliefs, and opinions of populations affected by and infected with HIV. The HIV/AIDS healthcare crisis within the African American community increases the response needed to foster social change that would help ensure development of the best treatment plans and prevention education programs, and prevent further spread of HIV/AIDS.

Learning Objectives:
Discuss cultural beliefs and opinions of populations affected by and infected with HIV.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, African American

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked in the field of HIV/AIDS for 6 years as a nurse. When I began my MSPH at Walden, I was working at a public health clinic as a public health nurse specialist. I had many clients tell me they would not take HIV medications, because they believed "the government was trying to harm them"; this was the reason I selected my topic for my thesis.
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.