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Keywords

HIV; testing; African American; college; HBCU

Abstract

Young African Americans are disproportionately affected by sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. The purpose was to identify reasons that African American college students at a historically Black college/university (HBCU) identified as barriers to HIV testing, and how these barriers can be removed. Fifty-seven heterosexual-identified undergraduate students (ages 18-25) attending an HBCU in the southeastern US participated in the study. Latent content analytic techniques were used to code the transcripts for themes and categories, and representative quotations were used in the findings. Qualitative data indicates three main themes used to avoid testing and three themes to encourage testing. Students were forthcoming in discussing the themes around avoidance of HIV testing (being scared to know, preferring not to know, and lack of discussion about HIV) and encouraging testing (group testing, increasing basic knowledge, and showing the reality of HIV). It is important for college healthcare professionals, researchers, and officials to identify appropriate ways to encourage HIV testing, and promote testing as part of overall health.

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