Perceptions of HIV/AIDS in One's Community Predict HIV Testing

Published in: AIDS and Behavior, v. 16, no. 7, Oct. 2012, p. 1926-1933

Posted on RAND.org on July 01, 2012

by Lu Shi, David E. Kanouse, Susie Baldwin, Junyeop Kim

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Using a subsample of respondents to the 2005 Los Angeles County health survey, we examined the relationship between perceptions of the seriousness of HIV/AIDS in one's community and HIV testing. We constructed a propensity score-based matched sample of three groups with differing perceptions of the seriousness of HIV in their community: high perceived seriousness, low perceived seriousness, and uncertain about seriousness. We compared HIV testing behavior in the three groups before and after using propensity score matching to control for selection on observed covariates. The unadjusted comparison showed a testing rate of 30.2 % among those perceiving high seriousness, 11.4 percentage points higher than the 18.8 % testing rate among those perceiving low seriousness. After propensity score matching, the adjusted testing difference was 7.0 percentage points (p < 0.05). Those uncertain about the seriousness of HIV did not differ significantly in their testing behavior from those perceiving high seriousness.

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