Distance as a Barrier to HIV Testing Among Men Who Have Sex with Men in the Rural South Open Access

Clausen, Alyssa (Spring 2022)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/2z10wr58j?locale=en


Men who have sex with men (MSM) are disproportionately affected by HIV. Living in a rural area as well as living in the Southern United States are known risk factors for HIV diagnosis, and MSM who live in the rural South face barriers to accessing HIV testing. We used data from a cross-sectional study of MSM living in the South and assessed the effect of various factors on time since last HIV test, including distance and time traveled to test and rural compared to non-rural residence. We found that those who traveled a longer distance to their most recent HIV test were more likely to have not been tested for HIV in the past 12 months, and those who lived in a rural residence were more likely to have not been tested in the past 12 months. There was no effect of time traveled to most recent HIV test on prevalence of testing for HIV in the past 12 months. The disparity in testing by distance traveled to test persisted even after controlling for known factors that contribute to testing indication such as condomless anal sex. These results suggest that living in areas without geographically proximal HIV testing providers contributes to lower testing frequency among this population.

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