Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

First Advisor

Dr. Matthew Magee

Second Advisor

Dr. Natalie Crawford


INTRODUCTION: In the United States, Blacks and Hispanics compared to Whites are disproportionately infected with HIV. Testing for HIV is critical to reduce HIV transmission, lower risk behaviors, and improve access to treatment among persons living with HIV. However, racial & ethnic minorities are tested at later stages of HIV. Previous studies that examined racial discrimination and HIV testing reported inconsistent findings and additional knowledge is needed to understand whether differential treatment based on race is an important barrier to HIV testing.

AIM: We examined whether HIV testing is influenced by how an individual reacts to race-based treatment, rather than experiences of discrimination alone, among Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics; and we determined if this relationship was modified race and ethnicity.

METHODS: We performed a cross-sectional analysis of the 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System’s (n=12,579) self-reported HIV testing data and Reaction to Race (RR) module, which captures experiences of differential treatment based on race and an individual’s reaction to racialized treatment. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess the association between RR-based treatment and HIV testing. Statistical interaction between RR-based treatment and race was assessed.

RESULTS: Approximately 21% participants reported ever being tested for HIV, and 19% of the participants had one or more experiences of RR-based treatment. Prevalence of HIV testing was higher among Blacks (62%) and Hispanics (33%) compared to Whites (32%). In an adjusted model, the odds of HIV testing among those who reported one experience of Reactions to Race based treatment was 1.37 (95% CI: 1.08-1.75) times the odds among those with no experiences of RR-based treatment. We did not detect statistical interaction between RR-based treatment and HIV testing by race.

DISCUSSION: Our findings suggest that experiences of racial discrimination may be counter intuitively associated with increased HIV testing overall and within each racial and ethnic group. Additional research is needed to clarify settings in which experiences of race-based treatment and the associated reactions to the treatment can positively or negatively influence HIV testing behaviors.