HIV/AIDS prevention in New York City: identifying sociocultural needs of the community

Soc Work Health Care. 2010;49(2):109-33. doi: 10.1080/00981380903158011.


New York City has always been and remains at the epicenter of the country's AIDS epidemic, with more than 100,000 people living with HIV/AIDS. More than Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Miami combined (CDC, 2007b). Each year there may be as many as 4,800 people in New York City who are newly diagnosed with HIV and 1,700 who die from the disease (NYC Commission on HIV/AIDS, 2005; NYC AIDS Institute, 2006g). Recent research indicates that these HIV infection rates are actually significantly higher (perhaps by as much as 40%), with the "virus spreading in NY at three times the national rate" making it evident that HIV education and prevention efforts are not effectively reaching New Yorkers (Altman, 2008, p. 1). This article reports on the findings of a quantitative study (n = 98) that sought to identify the unique sociocultural needs of NYC residents who seek HIV/AIDS care. Key questions were aimed at who gets HIV tested and why, what HIV education services were reported as most effective, and identifying the unique sociocultural obstacles to getting HIV tested. Some of the statistically significant findings include: (1) the most helpful HIV education was found to be support groups and the second most helpful was reading material offered in community based settings; (2) most residents choose to get tested under the direct advice of a physician; (3) Latinos tend to hold more HIV/AIDS Stigma than their African-American counterparts. Culturally competent implications are provided for policy, program development and direct care for those providing HIV education services in urban communities.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans
  • Aged
  • Community-Institutional Relations
  • Cultural Competency*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / ethnology
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • Health Education*
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening*
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Needs Assessment*
  • New York City
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / ethnology*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology