Correlates of HIV testing among youth in Guyana

Beverly E. Andrews, University of Southampton

With the largest HIV epidemic outside of sub-Saharan Africa, AIDS is the leading cause of death among young adults 15-24 years in the Caribbean. Yet little is known about the prevalence of HIV testing and the factors which are associated with these behaviours among Caribbean youth. The purpose of this study is to describe the prevalence of and correlates associated with self-reported HIV testing among young adults 15-24 years using data from a nationally representative sample. Using data from the 2005 Guyana HIV/AIDS Indicator Survey, a sample of 875 sexually experienced young adults were selected. Four clusters of potential correlates were examined for their effects on the dependent variable- ever tested and received results versus never tested:socio-demographic, psychosocial, risk behaviours and exposure to media. Overall, 34% (300) of youth had ever tested and received their results and knew their status. Among youth who had ever tested, 42% voluntarily requested the test, while 20% were offered the test and accepted and for 38% the test was required. Approximately two-fifths of female youth were ever tested compared to only one-fifth of males. Results of the logistic regression showed that after controlling for urban-rural residence, socio-economic status and recent sexual activity: older age, being currently or formerly married, having more than 5 lifetime partners, older age at first sex, HIV knowledge significantly increased the probability of self-reported HIV testing. Male sex was associated with a significant decrease in odds of being tested. The findings indicate the need to identify strategies and interventions which would increase uptake of HIV testing among young adult males, single youth, youth who initiate sex at younger ages and youth with low levels of HIV related knowledge which can assist in reducing the transmission of HIV among youth who are not aware of their HIV status.

Presented in Poster Session 1