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Barriers to Testing for Sexually Transmitted Infections among HIV-Serodiscordant Couples: The Influence of Discrimination.

Alarcon J, Loeb TB, Hamilton AB, Moss NJ, Curley CM, Zhang M, Jordan WC, Lockett G, Carey-Grant C, Wyatt GE. Barriers to Testing for Sexually Transmitted Infections among HIV-Serodiscordant Couples: The Influence of Discrimination. Ethnicity & disease. 2020 Apr 23; 30(2):261-268.

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Objectives: African Americans face challenges in accessing services for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). From 2012-2016, the EBAN II intervention was funded by the NIH to test the effectiveness of implementing a culturally congruent, evidence-based HIV/AIDS prevention program in Los Angeles and Oakland, California. This study examined the impact of personal characteristics and experiences of discrimination on the likelihood of being tested for STIs. Methods: Participants (N = 91) completed a baseline survey. Descriptive statistics were used to test for differences between those who did and did not obtain STI testing. Factors included HIV serostatus, sociodemographic variables, STI history, the presence of outside partners, and discrimination experiences. Multiple logistic regressions were conducted for men and women separately. Results: Participants with no recent experiences of discrimination were more than 3 (3.4) times more likely to obtain a baseline STI test than those who reported discrimination experiences. HIV-positive women with no recent experiences of discrimination were 11 times more likely than those with reports of recent discrimination to obtain STI tests. Conclusions: It is often women who are the gatekeepers for health seeking in families and the same may be for these couples. Experiences of discrimination may impede STI testing, and heighten several health risks, particularly among HIV-positive African American women in HIV-serodiscordant relationships. Addressing the impact of discrimination experiences may be important for STI prevention and treatment efforts in interventions promoting health care utilization.

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