Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices Towards HIV and HIV Screening Among Youths in Two Urban Multiethnic Community Hospitals

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Submission ID :
ESPR194
Submission Type
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Abstract: :

Background: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 21% of new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections were in youths aged 13-24 yrs with the highest in Black/African males (51%) in 2018. Risk factors for HIV include men having sex with men, intravenous drug users, those having unprotected sex and sexually active (SA) youth who live in a community with increased HIV prevalence (seroprevalence >1%). The recommended age for routine HIV screening (HIVSc) varies from 13 yrs by CDC to 16 yrs by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). If the goal is to end HIV infections by 2030, then it is important to prevent new infections through education and early diagnosis and to reduce transmission. There are no data on knowledge (K), attitudes (A) and practices (P) towards HIV and HIVSc among urban youths in a multiethnic community.


Objective: To explore K, A and P towards HIV and HIVSc in youths in an urban multiethnic community. 


Design/Methods: A questionnaire was offered in English or Spanish to youths aged 12 to 21 yrs visiting Flushing Hospital Medical Center and Jamaica Hospital Medical Center between May and October 2020. Data collected include age, gender, ethnicity, grades in school, and questions on K (5), A (5) and P (5) of HIV and HIVSc. Responses were analyzed using percentages. 


Results: Of 82 participants, 73% were between age 16-17 yrs, 72% female, 70% Hispanic, 14% Asian, 8% African American and 83% with grade B or better in school. Majority (82%) were attracted to the opposite sex, 4% to the same sex and 7% bisexual.  Almost a third (30%) were SA, the youngest being 14 yrs. Of the SA, 30% were able to define sexual intercourse and only 12% were able to define HIV correctly. Majority (93%) knew what sexual protection is and of the SA, three quarters (73%) used protection when having sex.  Less than a third (27%) were tested for HIV and of those tested, most (68%) were tested at their primary care provider, the preferred site by over a half (51%). About a fifth (17%) reported routine screening, a third (31%) worried of getting HIV and few (4%) had sexually transmitted infections in the past. HIV and HIVSc were discussed with their pediatrician in less than a half (42%).


Conclusions: In our small multiethnic sample, youths have more K of sexual intercourse and sexual protection than of HIV and HIVSc. Healthcare providers need to educate their youth starting at age 13 yrs on HIV and HIVSc.

Flushing Hospital Medical Center
Flushing Hospital Medical Center
Flushing Hospital Medical Center
Jamaica Hospital Medical Center
Flushing Hospital Medical Center
Flushing Hospital Medical Center
Flushing Hospital Medical Center

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