The divisive rhetoric regarding immigration being used by a presidential candidate (who shall remain nameless) may render very real consequences in the present, even if he is not elected in November. Truth be told, I consider myself neither qualified nor sufficiently informed to speak directly on the matter of immigration policy. However, I would like to draw your attention to a relatively small, but nonetheless important, facet that shouldn’t be overlooked when engaging in discourse on immigration: the impact that fears over immigration status can have on HIV/AIDS testing and linkage to care among at-risk immigrants living in the United States.
To be clear, the factors that influence an individual’s decision and ability to seek out HIV testing and (if HIV positive) linkage to care are numerous and complex. It would be naïve to think that toning down anti-immigrant rhetoric alone would ensure that all at-risk immigrants seek out HIV testing and care. It would be misguided to think patients falling off of the HIV/AIDS continuum of care could be prevented solely by ensuring them that seeking treatment is not grounds for deportation, without also addressing equitable access to care in the United States. But research has shown that fears over immigration status can be one of many contributing factors that affect health behaviors among undocumented immigrants.
Earlier this year, colleagues and I published a small study examining possible barriers to getting tested for HIV and sexually transmitted infections among Latino men living in New York City. Part of the research included conducting focus group sessions with study participants to better understand what barriers are preventing them from getting tested.
The barriers to getting tested identified in these focus groups were certainly not limited to immigration concerns. Language barriers and discrimination against being gay or transgendered were identified in these focus groups. For example, one transgender woman cited “the risk of being made fun of” as a hindrance to regular testing. However, fears about how HIV status might affect one’s immigration status were brought up as well. One focus group participant stated directly that many individuals he knows do not seek out testing or treatment for fear of being found out as an undocumented individual.
These fears are not necessarily without merit. Up until 2010, being HIV positive could have been a reason for a foreign citizen to be denied entry into the United States. If you are interested in learning more about this ban that was in place from 1993 to 2010, I highly recommend visiting Immigration Equality’s web page on the matter. Additionally, any HIV positive test must be reported to the state or local health department for public health surveillance and monitoring activities. While necessary, the fact that a HIV-positive test is often required by law to be reported to public health agencies could understandably be cause for concern among undocumented individuals.
Rhetoric that fosters a climate of anti-immigration sentiment is not conducive to these health-seeking behaviors. Of all the fears and unknowns surrounding someone with a possible HIV diagnosis, fear over their immigration status should not be one of them.
– This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.from food4 http://ift.tt/29KuXEw via bastelanna.jimdo.com from Tumblr http://ift.tt/29JUdZb via bastelanna.jimdo.com
Michelle Meyers, a well-know physician, author, and professor of physical therapy at the University of Kentucky, published analysis for both the layperson and for educational on fat loss nutrition topics, including gluten-free, low-carb and paleo.