The Impact of Demographic Variables on the Acquisition of HIV and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sierra Raven Small

Abstract


The objective of this study was to calculate and analyze the community sex ratio and other demographic variables for counties in six Southeastern states (Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee) for patterns and associations between demographics and the rate of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The demographic variables were analyzed as: race and age-specific community sex ratios, percent below the poverty level, educational attainment (divided into 2 groups-those with a high school diploma or equivalent and less, and those with greater than a high school diploma), and race distribution of African Americans and Whites. Data derived from the American Community Survey (ACS) 2008-12 five-year sample at the census tract level for counties in six Southeastern states (Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee) were combined to calculate composite, county-level measures. County-level rates of HIV and STD diagnoses in 2012 were derived from data collated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP) interactive atlas. Descriptive statistics, bivariate correlation, and multiple regression analysis were conducted using SPSS statistical software package. From the statistical analysis, it was found that STDs are highly correlated with one another indicating that the prevalence of any one STD is associated with the prevalence of all others. Poverty, race distribution and low educational attainment (i.e. high school diploma, GED, or below) are significantly associated with the acquisition of HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. The community sex ratio was not significantly correlated with the acquisition of HIV and STDs. Education and poverty may play an integral role in HIV and STD acquisition, and more research should be conducted to explore the influence of these demographics.


Keywords


Demographics, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Southeast United States

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