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