To test or not to test: Psychosocial barriers to HIV testing in high-income countries

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Abstract
To contribute to the evidence-based understanding of the psychosocial factors that influence individuals' uptake of testing for HIV, we assessed and synthesized the pertinent published literature in the fields of public health, behavioural medicine, and (health) psychology. Although the evidence base appears too limited to allow firm conclusions and definition on psychological barriers to HIV testing in high-income countries, we identified convergent themes from the available studies. Testing for HIV seems to be more likely when individuals perceive that they have been at risk, though this association is not perfectly observed. Fear of the consequences of testing positive -mainly worries related to discrimination and rejection - also hinders HIV testing. Finally, individuals appear more likely to test for HIV when they perceive more benefits from testing. The perspective of targeted individuals, in particular the social connotations and consequences of HIV diagnoses, is crucial to understand testing decisions.
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de Wit, John
Adam, Philippe
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Publication Year
2008
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Journal Article
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