Online Program

Unawareness of HIV infection among men who have sex with men in Puerto Rico: Data from the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System 2008-2011

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 11:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.

Carola T. Sanchez, MS, Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Puerto Rico, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Guaynabo, PR
Vivian Colon, PhD, MPH, Cancer Control and Population Sciences, University of PR Graduate School of Public Health and PR Cancer Center, University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus, San Juan, PR
Yadira Rolon, MS, Puerto Rico HIV Surveillance System, Department of Health, San Juan, PR
Sandra Miranda, MPH, Epidemiology and Investigation Office, HIV Surveillance Program, Puerto Rico Department of Health, San Juan, PR
Ileska Valencia-Torres, Center for Evaluation and Sociomedical Research, University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus, Caguas, PR
Background: Puerto Rico (PR) has the second highest HIV incidence in the US. Understanding unawareness of HIV infection has been recognized as public health challenge that needs to be addressed, particularly among MSM living in PR, since recent data reports increasing rates in this group.

Objective: To evaluate the magnitude and distribution of HIV infection unawareness over time among Puerto Rican MSMs.

Methods: Data from the PR National HIV Behavioral Surveillance-MSM from the 2008 and 2011 cycles was used. Participants who reported a prior negative HIV test and tested positive, were considered to be unaware of their status. Poisson regression model were used to determine changes in HIV unawareness across cycles.

Results: A high unawareness of HIV was reported (72.2% in 2008; 76.7% in 2011), however, no statistical changes were observed over time (p>0.10). Regression models shows that as age increases, a marginal significant decrease on unawareness was observed (OR:0.98;CI95%0.96-1.00). The model also suggests that as the number of male sexual partners increase, a 1% increase in unawareness was observed (OR:1.01;CI95%:1.00-1.01). Those who reported their sexual preferences to their health care provider (HCP) were 36% more likely to be unaware (OR:1.36;CI:1.07-1.73).

Conclusions: The increase in HIV incidence might be explained due to the high proportion of unaware HIV positive MSMs. Therefore, targeted prevention efforts -specifically among young MSM- should be delineated in order to decrease HIV unawareness among this population. Those efforts must address better targeted educational intervention among HCP in order to promote HIV prevention and awareness.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the magnitude and distribution of HIV infection unawareness over time among Puerto Rican MSMs

Keyword(s): HIV Risk Behavior, Epidemiology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I participated in the evaluation, data quality, analysis and interpretation of the NHBS data used. I possess previous experience in working with public health related state and federally funded studies conducted in the US and PR. For the last year and a half, I have worked with several projects conducted by the UPR school of public health and the PR HIV Surveillance program. My research interests focus on HIV, cancer and health disparities.
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.