216278 HIV related knowledge and risk behaviors of US Burmese refugees

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tun Aung Kyaw, MPH, MBBS , CulturalLink, Inc, Indianapolis, IN
Christopher Fisher, PhD , Department of Health Promotion, Social & Behavioral Health, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE
Michael Reece, PhD, MPH , Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Brian Dodge, PhD , Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Fernando Ona, PhD, MPH , Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Zin Min Than Oo, MBBS , CulturalLink, Inc., Indianapolis, IN
Background: HIV is a documented issue for persons from Burma. While research exists for those living just outside of Burma, little is known about HIV knowledge and risk behaviors for US Burmese refugees who have begun the acculturation process. This exploratory study investigates HIV-related knowledge and risk behaviors of Burmese refugees in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where more than 5,000 Burmese refugees are living.

Methods: A paper and pencil survey was developed in conjunction with Burmese social leaders and based on CDC measures of HIV knowledge and behavioral measures used in similar populations living on the Thai-Burma border. Convenience sampling was used to collect data from 120 Burmese adults. Descriptive statistics, chi-square, and ANOVA analyses were conducted.

Results: A majority of the participants (54%, n = 65) reported that they had had sexual intercourse with only one person in their lifetime. Younger Burmese refugees (25-34 year olds) had significantly higher HIV knowledge scores (M = 57.7143,) than 35-45 year olds (M = 53.8108, p <0.05). Participants who identified as single reported using condoms in the past 30 days more frequently than participants who reported being partnered, divorced, or widowed did, 2 (4, N = 116) = 57.184, p < 0.01.

Conclusions: Health promotion programs targeting Burmese refugees might consider focusing on older unmarried, divorced or widowed adults who are more likely to have more sexual partners and have lower knowledge scores. Programs targeting adolescents might take an approach that builds upon Burmese values which may limit the number of sexual partners.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate the need for more HIV education among Burmese refugees in the US

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Disease Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an Assistant Professor at UNMC and conduct HIV research. I was the mentor for the lead author on this project.
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.