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 RAND.org on May 03, 2013

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

Read More

Access further information on this document at AIDS Education and Prevention

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

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.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation external publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.