Factors behind HIV testing practices among Canadian Aboriginal peoples living off-reserve

AIDS Care. 2010 Mar;22(3):324-31. doi: 10.1080/09540120903111510.


The objective of this study was to examine factors associated with HIV testing among Aboriginal peoples in Canada who live off-reserve. Data were drawn for individuals aged 15-44 from the Aboriginal Peoples Survey (2001), which represents a weighed sample of 520,493 Aboriginal men and women living off-reserve. Bivariable analysis and logistic regression were used to identify factors associated with individuals who had received an HIV test within the past year. In adjusted multivariable analysis, female gender, younger age, unemployment, contact with a family doctor or traditional healer within the past year, and "good" or "fair/poor" self-rated health increased the odds of HIV testing. Completion of high-school education, rural residency, and less frequent alcohol and cigarette consumption decreased the odds of HIV testing. A number of differences emerged when the sample was analyzed by gender, most notably females who self-reported "good" or "fair/poor" health status were more likely to have had an HIV test, yet males with comparable health status were less likely to have had an HIV test. Additionally, frequent alcohol consumption and less than high-school education was associated with an increased odds of HIV testing among males, but not females. Furthermore, while younger age was associated with an increased odds of having an HIV test in the overall model, this was particularly relevant for females aged 15-24. These outcomes provide evidence of the need for improved HIV testing strategies to reach greater numbers of Aboriginal peoples living off-reserve. They also echo the long-standing call for culturally appropriate HIV-related programming while drawing new attention to the importance of gender and age, two factors that are often generalized under the rubric of culturally relevant or appropriate program development.

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Serodiagnosis / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology*
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Female
  • Government Programs
  • HIV Infections / ethnology*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / epidemiology
  • Young Adult