Date of Conferral
Peter B. Anderson
Young African American men who have sex with men (AAMSM) are at greater risk of being infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and less likely to seek HIV testing than are members of other demographic groups. This behavior results in a significant public health threat because young AAMSM with an unrecognized HIV infection are less likely to practice safer sex and, therefore, more likely to pass the infection on to their partners. This study is an examination of the social and personality factors that influence HIV testing rates among young AAMSM, using Aday's model of the social determinants of health and the Big Five model of personality as the theoretical frameworks. A cross-sectional design was employed, and social networks were used to recruit study respondents. Forty-three young AAMSM completed online questionnaires, and multiple regression techniques were used to examine relationships among the variables of interest. Statistical analysis indicated that neither the social risk factors derived from Aday's model nor the Big Five model predicted HIV testing. However, it is unknown whether these nonsignificant findings are attributable to a genuine lack of influence or the unique characteristics of the sample. Given the null results of this study and the mixed findings of prior research, further studies are required to draw conclusions regarding the influence of social and personality factors on HIV testing in this high-risk group. Additional research could be helpful in developing more effective strategies for encouraging HIV testing among young AAMSM. The potential for positive social change lies in slowing the spread of HIV through this vulnerable population and in engaging young AAMSM in the medical system to improve their long-term health prospects.