Introduction In Australia, people born in South-East Asia have the highest proportion of late human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) diagnosis. Late diagnosis has important implications for prevention, treatment and management of HIV. Limited evidence is available, however, on the testing behaviours of the South-East Asian migrant population and general Australian population.
Methods The study used quantitative and qualitative methods to assess uptake of, and barriers and facilitators to, HIV testing in Vietnamese- and Australian-born adults (18–49 years) in Queensland, Australia. A 66- item self-administered survey was given to participants (Vietnamese: n=188 and Australian: n=195) at selected sites in Brisbane using convenience sampling. The survey included demographic, HIV knowledge, HIV stigma, HIV risk, HIV testing and healthcare access items. Materials were available in Vietnamese and English. Qualitative interviews (n=8) were done with Vietnamese-born survey participants to further explore survey findings.
Results No statistically significant differences were seen between the two groups in terms of ever tested, ever recommended a test, self-testing or same day testing. Vietnamese-born people were significantly more likely to have recently tested and to accept provider-initiated testing and counselling (PITC). Interview data also suggested a preference for PITC in the Vietnamese-born community, due to their trust in doctors. They also indicated potential high-risk sexual practices in Vietnamese-born men.
Conclusion The Australian- and Vietnamese-born populations had similar HIV testing practices. Preference for PITC, however, was greater in the Vietnamese-born population. PITC may help reduce late HIV diagnosis by overcoming a number of barriers associated with client-initiated testing, e.g. poor risk perception and knowledge. Further research on the preference for PITC in this population and with healthcare providers who would be offering PITC is needed. Additionally, research is needed into the risk of HIV exposure when travelling back to Vietnam.
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