Government Mistrust Deters Older Adults from HIV Testing

Via ScienceDaily:

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 human-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 Jan. 29 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.

Read more here.

32 Comments on "Government Mistrust Deters Older Adults from HIV Testing"

    • BuzzCoastin | Feb 3, 2013 at 1:25 am |

      having been on the inside of big cancer
      I know he’s right on the money there

      Chris Rock did about 10 minutes on this a few years ago
      nothing gets cured, it gets maintained
      kinda like ants & aphids

      • Would you mind talking a bit about your time “inside of big cancer”?
        The ants and aphids metaphor is lost on me as well.

        Hope you are doing well Buzz!

        • I’d like to hear it.

        • BuzzCoastin | Feb 3, 2013 at 7:28 pm |

          I worked in psyop & sales for Big Cancer for 20 years
          I’ve owned cancer treatment centers
          I know how the game is played & who it’s design for

          Ants feed on the honeydew excreted by the aphids, and
          in exchange, ants keep the aphids alive, sequestered and protected.

          • …and how many years were added to the lives of the patients? and how many patients improved their quality of life? I know about 15 people affected by cancer, some for decades, who responded beautifully to the treatments and with minimal drama. In most cases, the treatment cycle was followed not by expensive continuing treatments, but by routine, inexpensive physicals.

            Not treating cancer isn’t really an option. Cancer is not an imaginary disease invented by Big Cancer. I suspect you’re a big liar with a tiny conscience.

          • BuzzCoastin | Feb 3, 2013 at 10:42 pm |

            you’re assuming that doing something (treatment)
            is more effective than doing nothing (no treatment)
            there isn’t any research that proves this
            and there is a lot of research that shows that
            treatment & non-treatment have equal results
            for most types of cancer

          • good thing you were in the “Cancer Biz” for 20 years ripping people off. Thank god you’re here now to edumacate us!

          • BuzzCoastin | Feb 4, 2013 at 7:16 am |

            no asked me if it was a good idea to get treated
            I merely provided what they had been sold by my docs
            a good question to ask a treating physician is
            would you suggest this for your mother in the same situation?
            you’d be surprised by the answers you’d get

          • you are already an established liar. the question is why?

          • BuzzCoastin | Feb 4, 2013 at 7:21 am |

            you’re already an established idiot
            no wondering why here

      • false. many things get cured.

        feel free to eschew anti-retroviral therapy for HIV if you catch it. You will die in about 5 years (and it won’t be pleasant). or you can use the current HIV meds and live a normal lifespan. That’s a large price to pay for paranoia, don’t you think?

        • BuzzCoastin | Feb 3, 2013 at 7:24 pm |

          . many things get cured

          name one cure which eliminates a disease

          • Penicillin is awfully good at curing bacterial infections. Surgery is awfully good at replacing a knee. Etc.

          • BuzzCoastin | Feb 3, 2013 at 10:39 pm |

            recent studies have shown most doctors wouldn’t use their own medicine

            all modern medicine is designed
            to prevent death & maintain the symptoms
            for fun & profit

            penicillin is naturally occurring
            it works, but it doesn’t immunize
            you obviously know nothing about orthopedic surgery
            if you regard it as a cure
            it’s a temporary fix at best

          • Can you walk through doorways? I ask because you are thick and obtuse.

          • BuzzCoastin | Feb 4, 2013 at 7:18 am |

            you never have any facts or data
            to back up your conventional platitudes and ideas
            you might try googling some information
            like the Hopkins study on physician’s care preferences
            or searching PubMed for something to back-up yer BS

    • Is that Captain Kangaroo?

    • well, you sure know how to spread disinformation

  1. BuzzCoastin | Feb 3, 2013 at 1:32 am |

    a healthy suspicion of government & big medicine
    is a reasonable position to hold and act on
    neither government nor big medicine has a track record that inspires trust
    how come only 72% found these pusillanimous parasites of pharmacopeia untrustworthy?
    the other 30% were simply undecided, I hope

  2. What does it mean if you get an HIV test and it comes back negative?

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