University of New Hampshire, Manchester
Mentor: Dr. Alison Paglia, Assistant Professor of Psychology
Has the rate of HIV/AIDS testing decreased among Men who have Sex with Men in the 18-25 year old range? A New Hampshire Study
Researchers from the University of New Hampshire Manchester in conjunction with the Southern New Hampshire HIV/AIDS Task Force are in the process of assessing variables related to HIV testing behavior among Men who have Sex with Men (MSM), 25 years of age and younger. MSM in Hillsborough County have the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS in New Hampshire, however there is a decrease in the number of people from this group presenting for HIV testing.
The health belief model asserts that an individual's perceived vulnerability and perceived severity related to a specific disease, influences the likelihood that risky or safe disease-related behavior will occur. For example, the introduction of protease inhibitors has revolutionized the treatment of HIV, however this medical advancement may decrease an individual's perception of disease severity. The current research project will address three critical areas; what influences a person to get HIV tested, what factors underlie apparent complacency in the face of continued risk for HIV infection, and how is the emergence of new drug treatments effecting risk perception in the MSM population?
The Director of Education at the Southern New Hampshire HIV/AIDS Task Force will utilize a venue-based survey method to collect completed questionnaires from 250 MSM youths in Southern New Hampshire. The results from this study will be applied to the design of a community-based intervention to promote HIV testing in all populations at-risk for the disease.