HIV testing in an ethnically diverse sample of American university students: associations with violence/abuse and covariates

Anthony S. DiStefano, Jasmeet K. Gill, Randolph D. Hubach, Reggie T. Cayetano, Cary J. Hilbert

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Abstract

Associations linking HIV infection to violence and abuse are well documented; however, little is known about how violence/abuse is related to HIV testing behavior, particularly among undergraduate university students, who test at lower rates compared to non-student peers in the United States. We assessed history of HIV testing in an ethnically diverse sample of undergraduates in California (n = 1,210); and examined potential associations between testing and various forms of violence/abuse, while controlling for covariates. Whereas 73.4 % of students were sexually active in the past year, only 26.3 % had ever tested for HIV. At the bivariate level, testing was associated with experiencing verbal abuse and sexual violence/coercion, and perpetrating verbal abuse. Experiencing verbal abuse remained significant in multivariate analysis. We discuss findings in a syndemics framework, considered in combination with social psychology-based health behavior theories. Enhanced HIV testing scale-up initiatives for undergraduates are needed and should consider integration with violence prevention programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1030-1046
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Volume37
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014

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Keywords

  • Abuse
  • HIV testing
  • Health behavior theory
  • Suicidality
  • Violence
  • Young adults

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