The effect of health perception on HIV testing behavior

Shalon Quinn, The University of Texas School of Public Health


OBJECTIVES: 1. To assess the correlation between self-reported health status and "healthy" behaviors including regular exercise, routine healthcare, and abstention from tobacco use as well as to assess whether the "healthy" behaviors can predict self-reported health status in order to assess the strength of these health-related variables. 2. To characterize the association between "healthy" behaviors including exercise, routine healthcare, and abstention from tobacco use and HIV testing behaviors. 3. To assess the degree to which those who report seeing a physician regularly have obtained an HIV test as recommended. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Study subjects were derived from the Texas subset of the 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey. METHODS: A cross-sectional study assessing the associations between "healthy" behaviors and HIV testing was conducted using the 2012 BRFSS core data set for the state of Texas. RESULTS: "Healthy" behaviors were not highly correlated to self-reported health status although routine exercise and routine healthcare were both predictors of self reported health status in a logistic regression model (OR 2.4 and 1.23, respectively). Odds of testing for HIV were highest among those with risk factors such as heavy drinking and known HIV risk factors (OR 1.34 and 1.77, respectively), than those with "healthy" behaviors such as routine exercise (OR 1.15) although those seeking routine healthcare had odds of testing for HIV of 1.46. Smokers test at a relatively high rate and the odds of testing for smokers was 1.5. The rate of testing for those who had seen a physician in the last five years was 34.2% and the rate of testing for those reporting that they had a personal physician was 32.5%. Among those with routine healthcare, rates of testing were highest among smokers (46.3%), heavy drinkers (43.5%) and those with HIV risk factors (61.7%) than those reporting regular exercise (35.3%). CONCLUSIONS: Of the "healthy" variables assessed, exercise is the strongest predictor of self-reported health status. While the "healthy" variables tended to predict HIV testing behavior, which was contrary to the stated hypothesis, the study validated previous studies demonstrating that those with risky behaviors will seek HIV testing at a higher rate than those without risky behaviors. This study also demonstrated that among those seeing a physician, behaviorally targeted, rather than routine testing appears to be occurring.

Subject Area

Public health|Epidemiology|Health care management

Recommended Citation

Quinn, Shalon, "The effect of health perception on HIV testing behavior" (2014). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3643669.