Online Program

Factors influencing HIV testing among individuals living in rural appalachia

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 3:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.

Tania Basta, PhD, MPH, CHES, Department of Social and Public Health, Ohio University, Athens, OH
Teena Stambaugh, RN, FCN, Department of Social and Public Health, Ohio University, Athens, OH
Celia Fisher, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Fordham University, Bronx, NY
Background: There are many factors that affect HIV testing in rural Appalachian areas, including stigma, lack of access to testing sites, lack of knowledge and awareness about HIV, and Appalachian culture. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to identify knowledge, social, cultural, and service barriers related to the willingness of rural economically disadvantaged individuals, engaged in mental health or substance abuse treatment services, to obtain newly marketed self-administered HIV tests or access Planned Parenthood testing services.

Methods: Participants were recruited from a community-based mental health organization located in rural Appalachian Ohio and the following data were collected via questionnaire: 1) demographic, 2) HIV knowledge, 3) HIV testing attitudes, 4) barriers to testing, and 5) HIV testing preferences. Descriptive and inferential analyses were conducted using PASW Statistics 18.

Results: Preliminary results suggest that rural Appalachian individuals need more information about the risks for HIV transmission, are generally open to the idea of HIV testing, but need more affordable and accessible testing options (especially in non-stigmatizing places, such as Laundromats etc).

Discussion: It is important for individuals at high-risk for HIV in rural Appalachia to know their HIV status in an effort to prevent further transmission and to facilitate engagement in HIV-related care. This is difficult in a region with few testing sites and only one ASO that serves 13 rural counties. Therefore, it is important to identify multi-level factors that influence HIV testing among rural Appalachian residents in an effort to design interventions that are responsive to their needs.

Learning Areas:

Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe multilevel factors affecting HIV testing among individuals living in rural Appalachia.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I work at an academic institution and conduct HIV research.
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.