Navigation Links
Mistrust of government often deters older adults from HIV testing

One out of every four people living with HIV/AIDS is 50 or older, yet these older individuals are far more likely to be diagnosed when they are already in the later stages of infection. Such late diagnoses put their health, and the health of others, at greater risk than would have been the case with earlier detection.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 43 percent of HIV-positive people between the ages of 50 and 55, and 51 percent of those 65 or older, develop full-blown AIDS within a year of their diagnosis, and these older adults account for 35 percent of all AIDS-related deaths. And since many of them are not aware that they have HIV, they could be unknowingly infecting others.

Various psychological barriers may be keeping this older at-risk population from getting tested. Among them are a general mistrust of the government for example, the belief that the government is run by a few big interests looking out for themselves and AIDS-related conspiracy theories, including, for example, the belief that the virus is man-made and was created to kill certain groups of people.

Now, a team of UCLA-led researchers has demonstrated that government mistrust and conspiracy fears are deeply ingrained in this vulnerable group and that these concerns often but in one surprising twist, not always deter these individuals from getting tested for HIV. The findings are published in the peer-reviewed journal The Gerontologist.

"Our work suggests that general mistrust of the government may adversely impact peoples' willingness to get tested for HIV/AIDS," said Chandra Ford, an assistant professor of community health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and the study's primary investigator. "HIV/AIDS is increasing among people 50 and older, but there's not a lot of attention being paid to the HIV-prevention needs of these folks. Older adults are more likely to be diagnosed only after they've been sick, and as a result, they have worse prognoses than younger HIV-positive people do.

"Also, the CDC recommends that anyone who's in a high-risk category should be tested every single year," she said. "These findings mean that the CDC recommendations are not being followed."

The researchers sought to test the association between mistrust of the government, belief in AIDS conspiracy theories and having been tested for HIV in the previous year. For the cross-sectional study, they worked with data from 226 participants ranging in age from 50 to 85. Participants were recruited from three types of public health venues that serve at-risk populations: STD clinics, needle-exchange sites and Latino health clinics.

Of the participants, 46.5 percent were Hispanic, 25.2 percent were non-Hispanic blacks, 18.1 percent were non-Hispanic whites and 10.2 percent were of other races or ethnicities. The data were collected between August 2006 and May 2007.

The researchers found that 72 percent of the participants did not trust the government, 30 percent reported a belief in AIDS conspiracy theories and 45 percent had not taken an HIV test in the prior 12 months. The more strongly participants mistrusted the government, the less likely they were to have been tested for HIV in the prior 12 months.

Several of the findings surprised the researchers for example, the fact that HIV testing rates among this population were not higher at the locations where the participants were recruited, given that these locations attract large numbers of people with HIV.

"This finding is concerning because the venues all provide HIV testing and care right there," Ford said.

And there was an even bigger, perhaps counterintuitive surprise. The more strongly participants believed in AIDS conspiracy theories, the more likely they were to have been tested in the previous 12 months.

"We believe they might be proactively testing because they believe it can help them avoid the threats to personal safety that are described in many AIDS conspiracies," Ford said. "For instance, if I hold these conspiracy beliefs and a doctor tells me I tested negative, I might get tested again just to confirm that the result really is negative."

By contrast, individuals who reported mistrusting the government may not have been tested because the venues where they were recruited were, in fact, government entities, Ford said.

The study has some weaknesses. For instance, the study design did not allow the researchers to determine whether the participants held their beliefs before or after being tested; thus, the researchers couldn't tell what prompted their mistrust of the government or conspiracy beliefs. Also, it's possible that the prevalence of these theories is higher in this group than it is in the general public and that some participants may have been afraid to tell the truth.

The next step in the research is to study other groups of older adults to determine if these views are more widely held than just among the at-risk population the researchers studied.


Contact: Enrique Rivero
University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences

Related medicine news :

1. HHS enlists Archimedes Inc. to expand governments use of health care modeling
2. Most occupational injury and illness costs are paid by the government and private payers
3. Study examines federal government payments to separate managed care programs for same patients
4. Internists recommend principles on role of governments in regulating patient-physician relationship
5. Government can play important role in obesity epidemic
6. Federal government renews contract for collecting and maintaining national stem cell transplantation database
7. NJ Accident Lawyers at Console & Hollawell React to New Motorcycle Crash Data from the U.S. Government Accountability Office
8. Government Mandates Could Cost Employers Huge Penalties
9. People with diabetes in Ontario getting fewer government-funded eye exams, new study finds
10. SFU materials and particle science attract government funding
11. Guyana government and Panthera sign historic jaguar conservation agreement
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, will take ... of people around the world. On December 1, supporters can make an online donation ... the personal stories behind those gifts. , Just as Black Friday and Cyber-Monday ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Tennessee (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... Pharmacy Quality Trend Report . Throughout the past year there have been multiple breakthroughs ... mature state. During this transition, PharmMD has enabled their customers and partners to stay ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... am so thrilled, as a newbie here, to leave a mark for the entire staff,” ... Makeover® from California Casualty . Stephanie is in her fifth year teaching at Santan ... , “This is such an amazing school and we deserve a space where we can ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Add a fresh touch to ... easy and affordable way to bring long-lasting style and cheer to any space. , ... clean the air and keep on giving all year long. , “Holiday plants make ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Tudore Tranquility is a new restaurant in Tokyo, ... plant-based fine dining menu that is full of flavorful and creative dishes that exceed ... wedding dinner or a small intimate event. The décor looks stunning with gold and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... November 24, 2015 --> ... "Spine Biologics Market by Product Type (Bone Graft, Bine Graft ... and Fusion, Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion), End User, and Geography ... market was valued at $1.90 Billion in 2014 and is ... of 4.4% during the forecast period of 2015 to 2020. ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... FRAMINGHAM, Mass. , Nov. 24, 2015   ... leading innovator of less-invasive, miniaturized circulatory support technologies that ... announced that President and Chief Executive Officer Doug ... Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference on December ... being held December 1-2 in New York ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015  Ascendant Solutions, Inc. (Pink Sheets: ASDS ) ... Directors has declared a special 1 percent stock dividend on ... December 14, 2015, to shareholders of record December 7, 2015.  ... shares of common stock. --> ... strong endorsement of our confidence in Ascendant,s growth strategy as ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: