Barriers and Solutions to HIV Testing Among College Students

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Bragg, Sarah J.
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Of the estimated 50,000 new HIV infections in 2014, 7,868 of the diagnoses were among individuals between the ages of 20 and 24. Despite engagement in high sexual risk behaviors, such as inconsistent condom use, multiple sexual partners, and alcohol/drug use prior to sexual contact, college students have a low perceived risk of contracting HIV. The purpose of this literature review is to identify the barriers to HIV testing among this population and to identify solutions to address these barriers. This research will contribute towards the work of developing and implementing HIV prevention interventions for college-aged youth in an effort to decrease the incidence of HIV, which is the first goal in the 2020 National HIV/AIDS Strategy. Multiple databases and key words were used to search the literature. Barriers to HIV testing included low perceived risk; confidentiality concerns; stigma; and cost. Solutions included implementing student-run initiatives; offering free or affordable tests; doing outreach; and using rapid and bloodless tests. There is a need to further explore HIV trends and testing among college campuses. Education for both students and healthcare providers is needed to reduce HIV -related stigma, assist in embracing universal testing, and ensure testing accessibility. In an effort to support the findings in the literature, the Health Belief Model, the Social Cognitive Theory, and the Social Norms Theory were explored as possible explanations for the barriers and solutions to testing. A previous study found a difference between risk behaviors, testing history, and consistent condom use between students that attended a community college compared to public university students. Given the structural, social, and financial differences between public universities and private colleges, the relevance of these findings were compared to a private college in the Midwestern United States using previously collected data. Despite the findings in previous literature, gender and race/ethnicity had no effect on testing history. There was also no relationship between gender, race/ethnicity, consistent condom usage, or-condom use self-efficacy with testing frequency. A larger scale study assessing multiple private colleges is necessary to support or oppose these differences between private and public- institutions.
v, 41p.
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