Cover: HIV Risk Behavior and Access to Services

HIV Risk Behavior and Access to Services

What Predicts HIV Testing Among Heterosexually Active Homeless Men

Published in: AIDS Education and Prevention, v. 24, no. 3, June 2013, p. 270-279

Posted on May 3, 2013

by Suzanne L. Wenzel, Harmony Rhoades, Joan S. Tucker, Daniela Golinelli, David P. Kennedy, Annie Jie Zhou, Brett Ewing

HIV is a serious epidemic among homeless persons, where rates of infection are estimated to be three times higher than in the general population. HIV testing is an effective tool for reducing HIV transmission and for combating poor HIV/AIDS health outcomes that disproportionately affect homeless persons, however, little is known about the HIV testing behavior of homeless men. This study examined the association between individual (HIV risk) and structural (service access) factors and past year HIV testing. Participants were a representative sample of 305 heterosexually active homeless men interviewed from meal programs in the Skid Row region of Los Angeles. Logistic regression examined the association between past year HIV testing and demographic characteristics, HIV risk behavior, and access to other services in the Skid Row area in the past 30 days. Despite high rates of past year HIV testing, study participants also reported high rates of HIV risk behavior, suggesting there is still significant unmet need for HIV prevention among homeless men. Having recently used medical/dental services in the Skid Row area (OR: 1.91; CI: 1.09, 3.35), and being a military veteran (OR: 2.10; CI: 1.01–4.37) were significantly associated with HIV testing service utilization. HIV testing was not associated with HIV risk behavior, but rather with access to services and veteran status, the latter of which prior research has linked to increased service access. We suggest that programs encouraging general medical service access may be important for disseminating HIV testing services to this high-risk, vulnerable population.

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