A substantial body of literature has characterized how psychosocial factors, including HIV-related stigma and coping, are associated with HIV testing and HIV care utilization post-diagnosis. Less is known about if certain psychosocial characteristics pre-diagnosis may also predict linkage to care among individuals who receive an HIV-positive diagnosis. We examined if pre-diagnosis awareness/perception about HIV-related stigma and dispositional coping styles predicted linkage to HIV care within three months post-diagnosis with a secondary analysis of 604 patients from a randomized controlled trial (Sabes Study). Awareness/perception about HIV-related stigma, dispositional maladaptive and adaptive coping were measured before patients underwent an HIV test. Linkage to care was measured as receipt of care within three months of receiving the diagnosis. After adjusting for covariates, individuals who reported greater dispositional maladaptive coping pre-diagnosis had lower odds of linking to care, OR = 0.82, 95%CI [0.67, 1.00], p = .05. There was also a non-significant inverse association between dispositional adaptive coping pre-diagnosis and linkage to care. These preliminary data suggest the need for further longitudinal research and highlight the potential utility of pre-diagnosis psychosocial assessment and tailored counseling when providing positive HIV diagnosis results.
Keywords: HIV stigma; Latinos; coping; linkage to care.