Getting tested is almost like going to the Salem witch trials': Discordant discourses between western public health messages and sociocultural expectations surrounding HIV testing among East African immigrant women
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
: 1:10 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Washington, DC has the highest AIDS diagnosis rate in the United States and Black women are disproportionately affected. Although HIV testing is the first entryway into vital treatment services, evidence reveals that foreign-born blacks have a lower rate of recent HIV testing than U.S.-born blacks. To date, however, there are no studies that examine the culture-specific perceptions of HIV testing among East African immigrant women (who comprise a large share of Black Africans in DC) to better understand their potential barriers to testing. Adopting the PEN-3 cultural model as our theoretical framework, the main objective of this study was to examine East African women’s HIV testing perceptions and partner communication norms. Between October 2012 and March 2013, trained interviewers conducted a total of 25 interviews with East African women in the Washington DC Metropolitan area. In-depth, semi-structured interviews and cognitive interviews were conducted. Qualitative thematic analysis revealed a systematic pattern of discordant responses across participants. While they were aware of messages related to western public health discourse surrounding HIV testing (e.g., Everyone should get tested for HIV; One should talk to one’s spouse about HIV testing), divergent sociocultural expectations rooted in cultural and religious beliefs prevailed (e.g., Getting an HIV test brings shame to the person who got tested and to one’s family; it implies one is engaging in immoral behavior; One should not talk with one’s spouse about HIV testing; doing so breaks cultural norms). Implications are discussed.
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Analyze factors that hinder East African women from getting tested for HIV
Describe role of culture in HIV prevention
Keyword(s): HIV Risk Behavior, Minority Health
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a PhD and years of experience conducting research in the realm of HIV.I have an expertise in HIV prevention and immigrant health.
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.