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A Descriptive Study of Native Americans Participation in HIV Testing in Montana

by Strike, Carrie

Abstract (Summary)
Since reporting first began in Montana in 1985 there have been few, if any, significant changes in regard to HIV/AIDS case rates as well as the demographic characteristics and risk behaviors of Native Americans infected with HIV/AIDS. The fact HIV/AIDS does not appear to have had a disproportionate impact on Montanas American Indian population at the present time is somewhat surprising given other markers of potential HIV risk, such as the increase in both teen pregnancies and other sexually transmitted disease rates like Hepatitis C, suggest an increased level of risk among American Indians when compared to non-Indian populations. Epidemiologic reports, however, indicate that incidence and prevalence of HIV in the population has remained relatively constant. The purpose of this study was to provide a more accurate picture of Native Americans and their participation in HIV Counseling and Testing (HIV C&T) in Montana. Four data sources used include, 1) The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS); 2) Montana state Epidemiological HIV/AIDS records; 3) HIV C&T Intake Forms from state funded testing sites in 2007; and 4) A questionnaire assessing barriers to HIV testing. The four sources were used to collect numbers, demographic characteristics, risk behaviors, and the real and perceived barriers to HIV C&T of Native Americans (NA) being tested for HIV in off-reservation testing sites in Montana. A synthesis of results from each source revealed the following three conclusions: 1) It appears that NA in Montana are being tested for HIV at about the same rates as Whites. Whites report being tested more in private clinics while NA report testing in public clinics; 2) the epidemic among NA in Montana does not seem to be changing over time, since reporting began in 1985; and 3) there does not appear to be a hidden epidemic among NA living in Montana. Results from this study will assist state funded HIV C&T sites and Urban Indian Centers in their efforts to target high risk populations and to improve access to HIV C&T for Montanas Native American population.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Dr. K. Ann Sondag

School:The University of Montana

School Location:USA - Montana

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:health human performance

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/15/2009

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