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AIDS Behav. 2013 Jan;17(1):266-73. doi: 10.1007/s10461-011-0114-9.

The role of trust in delayed HIV diagnosis in a diverse, urban population.

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Legacy Community Health Services, Houston, TX, USA.


Delayed diagnosis of HIV infection is a common problem. We hypothesized that persons with less trust in physicians and in the healthcare system would be diagnosed with lower CD4 cell counts than persons with more trust because they would delay seeking healthcare. From January 2006 to October 2007, 171 newly diagnosed HIV-infected persons, not yet in HIV primary care, were recruited from HIV testing sites in Houston, Texas, that primarily serve the under- and un-insured. The participants completed instruments measuring trust in physicians and trust in the healthcare system. Initial CD4 cell counts were obtained from medical record review. Mean trust scores for participants with CD4 cell counts ≥200 cells/mm(3) were compared with scores from participants with CD4 cell counts <200 cells/mm(3). We found that 51% of the cohort was diagnosed with a CD4 cell count <200 cells/mm(3). Neither trust in physicians nor trust in the healthcare system was an independent predictor of delayed diagnosis of HIV infection. In multivariate analysis, men who have sex with men and injection drug users were more likely to have early HIV diagnosis. Race/ethnicity was the only variable statistically significantly predictive of trust in physicians and in the healthcare system. Hispanics had the highest trust scores, followed by Blacks and Whites. Low trust is likely not a barrier to timely diagnosis of HIV infection.

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