Barriers to accessing HIV-prevention in clinic settings: Higher alcohol use and more sex partners predict decreased exposure to HIV-prevention counseling
Understanding barriers to accepting HIV-prevention counseling among vulnerable populations is of critical importance, as prevention efforts can only have a public health impact if high-risk populations are willing to enroll. A correlational field study was conducted in a health care setting with a high-risk community sample (N = 350) to determine if number of sex partners and alcohol consumption predict acceptance of an invitation to take part in HIV-prevention counseling. Findings indicated that participants engaging in the least risky behavior (i.e. individuals reporting no alcohol consumption and few sex partners) were more likely to accept an offer to receive HIV-prevention counseling. Moreover, heavy drinking was associated with decreased exposure to HIV-prevention counseling, regardless of the number of sex partners reported (b = .12, p > .05). Given associations between heavy drinking and sexual risk taking, finding ways to increase exposure to HIV-prevention counseling programs among heavy drinkers could serve a vital public health function.
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