- Racial/ethnic discrimination and HIV/AIDS conspiracy beliefs may contribute to disparities in use and satisfaction with healthcare services and engaging in safer sex practices. Previous studies that examined racial/ethnic discrimination and HIV/AIDS conspiracy beliefs focused primarily on African Americans with few studies focusing on Latinos. This study used longitudinal data from in-person structured interviews with 450 Latino, Black, and White young adults from East Los Angeles, California. The sample was equally represented by race/ethnicity (Latino 33%, Black 34%, and White 33%). We collected data on perceptions of discrimination in a daily context (EOD), in interactions with healthcare providers (HDS), HIV/AIDS conspiracy beliefs (HCB), condom use at baseline and four months post-baseline, condom use self-efficacy, sexual decision-making, perceived risk for HIV/STIs, and demographic characteristics. The first aim was to examine if and how race is associated with Experiences of Discrimination (EOD), Perceived Healthcare Discrimination (HDS), and HIV/AIDS-Conspiracy Beliefs (HCB) and if and how gender moderates this relationship while controlling for number of children, age, education and working outside of the home. The second aim was to investigate if and how EOD, HDS, and HCB were associated with condom use overall and by race, gender, and race by gender.
For Aim 1, logistic and linear regressions were used to examine the association between discrimination and endorsing HCB by race and by gender. Multivariable models, adjusting for all demographic covariates, investigated if race/ethnicity and gender were associated with EOD, HDS, and HCB and if the association between race/ethnicity and EOD, HDS, and HCB varied by gender. For Aim 2, bivariate relationships between condom use at Time 2 and all covariates were examined using simple logistic regression. Multivariable models, adjusting for all covariates investigated if EOD, HDS, and HCB were associated with condom use at Time 2.
We found that Blacks and Latinos reported more experiences of everyday and healthcare discrimination in almost all forms and endorsed more HIV/AIDS conspiracy beliefs compared to Whites. Additionally, Black and Latino men reported stronger feelings of everyday discrimination than their female counterparts. Also, more reports of experiences of healthcare discrimination and endorsement of HIV/AIDS conspiracy beliefs were found for Blacks, Latinos, and participants with children compared to their counterparts. However, everyday discrimination, healthcare discrimination, and endorsement of HIV/AIDS conspiracy beliefs did not predict future condom use among a sample of Blacks, Latinos, and Whites. We did find, however, that among women, exposure to everyday discrimination did predict future condom use and that past condom use predicted future condom use for all racial and both gender groups.
This study contributes to a growing understanding of how different racial/ethnic groups experience discrimination across various settings and everyday activities and their endorsement of HIV/AIDS conspiracy beliefs. Notably, we included Latinos who have, outside of immigration issues, been underrepresented from the broader discrimination literature. The field of Public Health must address the problems of racism and discrimination like any other toxic pathogen. In so doing, Public Health becomes proactive in its efforts to mitigate the effects of racial discriminations on population health.