Diaspora Community Services, USA
Scientific Tracks Abstracts: J AIDS CLIN RES
Background: Youth of color
are particularly vulnerable
to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
HIV infection is increasingly
becoming a concern among
this population. In reviewing
recent HIV infection and AIDS
statistics, the burden of this
disease is 100% preventable by
re-engaging young people with
the goal of raising awareness of
HIV prevention through regular
testing. However, stigma still
remains a barrier in communities
Purpose: We qualitatively explored the perceived sociobehavioral perceptions that impact the health and wellbeing of adolescent youth in Brooklyn, particularly outcomes related to HIV Testing.
Methodology: Convenience and snowball sampling were used to recruit youth (n=10) from Brooklyn, New York to participate in a focus group. Focus group data were digitally audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using at last.
Results: Participants identified how HIV testing is important for preventing HIV transmission. They also identified risk factors for contracting HIV including alcohol and drug use, sharing tattooing needles, unstable housing, and multiple sex partners. Also, participants were able to identify stigma as a major barrier to getting an HIV test, hence increasing the likelihood of contracting the virus.
Discussion: In our sample, youth seemed to be fairly knowledgeable and aware of HIV and the related risk factors, however, when asked about what they perceived as a barrier to testing, they all identified stigma. We recommend that public health professionals continue their health promotion efforts to reduce negative HIV outcomes in young populations. It is imperative, however, that more all-inclusive messages centered around dispelling myths about HIV testing become incorporated in health initiatives. More resources may need to be allocated to address this issue for this already underserved and marginalized community.
Adewale Adesanmi, MPH is a Public Health professional, whose passion and dedication to the public health profession is evident in his years of vast experience in preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting human health through advocacy and health education. His research topics include re-evaluating the Perception of the Male Role in the Dating Violence Paradigm: Men Are Not Always the Perpetrator, Dating violence and Sexual Health among LGBT Teens, Body Image and Sexual Identity among Youths.
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