Vulnerabilities Associated with Post-disaster Declines in HIV-testing: Decomposing the Impact of Hurricane Sandy

PLoS Curr. 2018 Aug 21:10:ecurrents.dis.e735c842bab99a2f564cc9a502394bbe. doi: 10.1371/currents.dis.e735c842bab99a2f564cc9a502394bbe.


Introduction: Using Interrupted Time Series Analysis and generalized estimating equations, this study identifies factors that influence the size and significance of Hurricane Sandy's estimated impact on HIV testing in 90 core-based statistical areas from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2013.

Methods: Generalized estimating equations were used to examine the effects of sociodemographic and storm-related variables on relative change in HIV testing resulting from Interrupted Time Series analyses.

Results: There is a significant negative relationship between HIV prevalence and the relative change in testing at all time periods. A one unit increase in HIV prevalence corresponds to a 35% decrease in relative testing the week of the storm and a 14% decrease in relative testing at week twelve. Building loss was also negatively associated with relative change for all time points. For example, a one unit increase in building loss at week 0 corresponds with an 8% decrease in the relative change in testing (p=0.0001) and a 2% at week twelve (p=0.001).

Discussion: Our results demonstrate that HIV testing can be negatively affected during public health emergencies. Communities with high percentages of building loss and significant HIV disease burden should prioritize resumption of testing to support HIV prevention.

Grants and funding

The author received no specific funding for this study.