229867 Conspiracy Beliefs about the Origin of HIV/AIDS among African Americans and Whites with HIV/AIDS in Alabama Black Belt

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 1:30 PM - 1:45 PM

Andrew Zekeri, PhD , Psychology and Sociology, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL
Rueben Warren, DDS, MPH, DrPH , National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care, Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL
BACKGROUND: Little is known about HIV/AIDS conspiracy beliefs among HIV-positive patients. This study examined the beliefs about the origin of HIV/AIDS as a genocidal conspiracy among African American and White patients with HIV/AIDS. METHODS: A survey was conducted using a structured questionnaire among 258 African Americans and 97 whites attending a southeastern Alabama clinic that provides medical and social support services to HIV-positive persons. The survey included attitudinal assessment measuring beliefs concerning the origin of AIDS as a genocidal conspiracy against blacks, HIV is a manmade virus, and AIDS was produced in the government lab. Multiple regressions were used for the analysis. RESULTS: African Americans (79.3%) were more likely than whites (20.7%) to believe that AIDS is a manmade virus (p<.05). African Americans (77.8%) as compared to whites (22.2%) believed that AIDS is a form of genocide against blacks (p<.05). African Americans (76.3%) were also more likely to hold the belief that AIDS was produced in the government laboratory than whites (23.7%). Results of the regression analyses also indicate that race, was by far, the most important predictor of conspiracy beliefs. African American patients were more likely than whites to endorse the conspiracy beliefs. The set of demographic variables explained a small amount of the variance in conspiracy beliefs (R2 = 0.082). Conclusions: A significant proportion of African American patients with HIV/AIDS endorsed HIV/AIDS conspiracy beliefs. This suggests that some African Americans still do not trust the government and the health care system.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe racial disparities concerning conspiracy beliefs about the origin of HIV/AIDS 2. Describe the role of conspiracy beliefs in addressing HIV/AIDS epidemics in African American communities.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, African American

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I hold a Ph.D.degree and I am a research faculty in sociology doing research on HIV/AIDS in Alabama Black Belt Counties
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.