THE SYNDEMIC EFFECT OF PSYCHOSOCIAL AND STRUCTURAL FACTORS ON HIV TESTING AMONG BLACK MEN AND THE MODERATING EFFECT OF SEXUAL IDENTITY
Turpin, Rodman Emory
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Black populations experience the highest incidence and prevalence of HIV in the United States. It has been posited that numerous structural and psychosocial factors contribute to HIV disparities among Black populations, these factors can have an adverse effect on healthcare utilization, including HIV testing. Given the burden of HIV rates among Black men, especially Black gay and bisexual men, it is important to consider possible barriers to HIV testing in this population. Syndemic theory posits a mutually reinforcement of social and structural conditions that cumulatively affects disease outcomes. While syndemic theory has been applied to HIV acquisition, this framework has not been utilized for HIV testing. We tested for a syndemic of depression, poverty, and a lack of healthcare access impacting HIV testing and tested sexual identity as a moderator of healthcare access in a nationally representative sample of Black men. Participants with 2 or 3 syndemic factors were significantly more likely to have never been HIV tested compared to those with 0 or 1 (49.2% to 31.7%). Having 3 syndemic factors was associated with greater prevalence of never having been HIV tested (aPR=1.46, 95% CI 1.09, 1.95). Gay/bisexual identity moderated the association between health insurance and ever having been HIV tested in adjusted models (aPR=4.36; 95% CI 1.40, 13.62), with not having health insurance being associated with HIV testing among gay/bisexual participants only (aPR=4.84, 95% CI 1.19, 19.70). Using latent class analysis, four syndemic classes were identified as significant predictors of having never been HIV tested. In adjusted log-binomial models, compared to the class with the lowest proportion of syndemic factors, the highest prevalence of never having been HIV tested was among the class with the highest proportions of syndemic component factors (aPR=2.27, 95% CI 1.83, 2.82). Overall, there is evidence of a syndemic of depression, poverty, and a lack of healthcare access that negatively affects HIV testing among Black men, with a lack of healthcare access being a significantly greater barrier to HIV testing among gay/bisexual men compared to heterosexual men.