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Black Doctors Shy About Recommending HIV Tests PDF Print E-mail
Articles | Health

 

According to a new study commissioned by Janssen Therapeutics and the National Medical Association, social stigmas are still the largest barriers keeping African-American frontline physicians from testing their patients for HIV and AIDS. African-Americans are currently one of the groups at the highest risk for HIV infection in the United States, and a healthy testing program is one of the primary ways to combat that reality. With a lack of testing, the Black community could potentially face erosion by HIV for decades to come.

 

According to the study, though 93 percent of African-American physicians agreed that HIV is either “very serious” or “a crisis” in the Black community, far fewer actually routinely test their Black patients for HIV. Of the physicians interviewed for the study, only one-third of their patients had been tested for HIV in the past year, and not because the patients themselves were opposed to testing. Rather, many of the physicians were unwilling to recommended HIV testing because of social stigmas associated with the procedure.

 

The survey found that three of the top five barriers to routine testing cited by African-American physicians relate to social stigma. Specifically, physicians are concerned that patients may perceive the recommendation to test as accusatory or judgmental (57 percent); would not want to be identified as HIV positive and would worry about people finding out (48 percent); and would be offended due to the stigma associated with HIV (43 percent).

 

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