HIV knowledge mediates the relationship between HIV testing history and stigma in college students

Abstract

Objective: HIV-related stigma is one of the strongest barriers to prevention and treatment. HIV prevalence in U.S. college students is estimated around 0.02%, but is thought to be drastically underreported. We examined the influence of HIV knowledge on the relationship between HIV testing history and stigma in college students. Participants: A random sample of 2343 students, over the age of 18, attending a large university in the southeastern United States completed the survey in January 2016. Methods: A mediation model was constructed in regression framework to explore the relationship between HIV testing history, knowledge, and stigma. Results: HIV testing history was associated with higher knowledge scores (a path: B = 4.08, p < .001) and higher knowledge scores were associated with lower stigma (b path: B = .01, p < .001). These results suggest that HIV knowledge partially mediates the relation between HIV testing history and stigma in college students. Conclusions: HIV testing history may decrease stigma by increasing knowledge. Results can be used to inform college health promotion practice on developing programs and services.

Publication
Journal of American College Health
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Tyler G. James
Doctoral Candidate and Graduate School Fellow

My research interests include the application of quantitative and mixed methods to develop and advance health behavior theory and practice, with specific focus on healthcare access for deaf and hard-of-hearing community.