Latinos are more likely to delay HIV testing, present to care with an AIDS defining illness, and die within one year of learning their HIV-positive status than non-Latino blacks and whites. For this paper, we explore the role of partner-relationship characteristics and health behaviors, in predicting HIV testing among Latina adult women who engaged in risky sexual behaviors (i.e., unprotected vaginal and/or anal sex). Data from a convenience sample of 168 Latina adult women who engaged in risky sexual behavior in the year prior to assessment were analyzed for this paper. Rates and predictors of HIV testing among this sample were assessed after a five-year follow-up. Descriptive and analytical estimates include incidence rates and adjusted odds ratios (AOR) from multilevel models. At five-year follow-up, 63.7% (n = 107) women reported having been tested for HIV, of whom 12.2% (n = 13) were women who never tested before. Main reasons for not having been tested at follow-up included: low risk perception (62.1%) and trusting their partner(s)/being in a monogamous relationship/knowing their partner's HIV status (17.2%). Predictors of HIV testing included: age (AOR: 0.96; 95% CI = 0.92-0.99), provider endorsement of HIV testing (AOR: 4.59; 95% CI = 1.77-11.95), poor quality of their romantic relationships (AOR: 1.12; 95% CI = 1.03-1.26), and knowing the HIV sero-status of sexual partner (AOR: 3.61; 95% CI = 1.46-8.95). This study characterizes a group of Latina women at high risk for HIV infection and their HIV testing behaviors. Our findings underscore the need of increasing access to quality health-care services and HIV behavioral interventions, and to strengthen the adherence to HIV/sexually transmitted disease testing recommendations and guidelines among local health-care providers serving the Latino community in South Florida.
Keywords: HIV testing; Hispanic/Latina women; sexual risk behavior; sexual transmitted infections.