Background In the Caribbean, young women are particularly at risk of being infected with HIV due to social, economic and behavioural vulnerabilities. However despite these vulnerabilties, few female young adults have been tested for HIVand know their status. Moreover there is a general paucity of studies examining the HIV testing behaviours, preferences and barriers faced among Caribbean youth. This study explores the patterns and factors associated with HIV testing behaviours among female youth aged 15–24 in three Caribbean countries: Guyana, Dominican Republic, and Haiti. The analysis is guided by Andersen’s Behavioural Model.
Methods Data from population based surveys such as the Demographic and Health Surveys, the AIDS Indicator Survey are used to explore the determinants of HIV testing behaviour among young women. Independent variables were classified according to Andersen’s Behavioural Model and includes: traditional predisposing variables (age, educational attainment, region of residence), vulnerable predisposing factors (age at first sex, recent sexual activity, lifetime partners, condom use, consistent condom use), predisposing variables (HIV knowledge, personal stigma attitudes, knowledge of persons living with HIV/AIDS) and enabling factors (socioeconomic status, exposure to print and non-print media, history of an STI). Statistical methods include bivariate analysis using chi-square and stepwise logistic regression modelling.
Results Proportion of youth ever tested was17% in Haiti, 37% in Guyana and 48% in Dominican Republic. Factors associated with HIV testing were marital status, residence, age at first sex, socioeconomic status. Rural, poorer and unmarried young women were less likely to report that they were tested for HIV.
Conclusion Policies and programmes should address the structural, economic and other barriers to HIV testing faced by young women who reside in rural areas, and are poor. Messages promoting the benefits of HIV testing should target these women who are more vulnerable to HIV infection.
- HIV testing
- Trinidad and Tobago
- young women
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