XVIII International AIDS Conference


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Ethnic differences in uptake of HIV testing among youth in Guyana

B. Andrews

University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom

Background: HIV is the leading cause of death among youth in the Caribbean.The aim of this study is to examine the prevalence of HIV testing among different ethnic groups in Guyana
Methods: Using data from the 2005 AIDS Indicator Survey, a sample of 875 sexually experienced youth 15-24 years was selected. Bivariate methods were used to analyse the prevalence of HIV testing distributed according to the ethnic groups : African, East Indian, Amerindian and Mixed and the association with socio-demographic , risk and psychosocial characteristics. Logistic regression models which account for the sample des0ign are used to describe the factors associated with HIV testing in each ethnic group. Unadjusted and Adjusted Odds Ratios are presented.
Results: Overall two-thirds of Guyanese youth had never been tested for HIV. There were significant ethnic differences in HIV testing among youth. The highest proportion of those ever tested was found among African youth (45.3%). Less than one-third of Indian youth and 37% of Mixed race youth and two-fifths of Indigenous Amerindian youth had ever been tested for HIV (p=.000). Only 54% of Amerindians knew a test location while more than 80% of youth in each of the other ethnic groups knew where to get tested (p=.000). Unadjusted odds ratios show that Indian (OR=0.56, p=.002), Amerindian (OR= 0.30, p=.000), Mixed race (OR=.07, p=.070) were less likely to be tested than African youth. After adjusting for socio-demographic, behavioural risk factors and HIV knowledge, the association persisted for Indians (AOR=0.29, p=.001) and Amerindians (AOR=0.043, p =.000).
Conclusions: These results show that even after controlling for socio-demographic, sexual risk and psychosocial variables, significant associations between ethnicity and HIV testing for sexually experienced youth persisted. Interventions aimed at improving HIV testing should go beyond broad demographic groups and target youth within ethnic groups with culturally sensitive, approriate prevention messages .

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