Associations Between Sex and HIV Testing, HIV Risk, and HIV Risk Perception Among a National Sample of Adults Aged 65 Years and Older

Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Healthcare Administration (DHA)

Committee Chair

Mary Bynum

Committee Member

Chenelle Jones

Committee Member

Cynthia Smoak


Routine HIV testing for adults 65 years and older is imperative for prevention and treatment efforts among the vulnerable population. To date, limited research exists that examines associations between sex in HIV testing, HIV risk perception, and HIV risk among adults who are 65 years and older. Certain risk behaviors can lead to missed testing opportunities for some Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 and older, increasing the likelihood of new HIV transmissions and late-stage diagnoses. A federal mandate requires that Medicare Part B (outpatient insurance) cover annual wellness visits, which allow providers and beneficiaries to develop personalized prevention plans of care. However, Medicare does not offer routine HIV testing to beneficiaries 65 years and older, unless they specifically ask for a test (risk perception) or considered at risk (actual risk). This quantitative, cross-sectional, causal-comparative research design was guided by the health belief model (HBM) and theory of gender and power (TGP). Chi-square tests analyzed secondary data from the 2018 National Health Interview Survey, Adult Sample file regarding HIV testing, HIV risk perception and HIV risk among non-institutionalized adults, 65 years and older. The significance of statistical tests was determined at the .05 alpha level. Study findings revealed a significant association between sex and HIV testing prevalence, with men (24.3%) testing more frequently than do women (20.1%). Findings also revealed a significant association between sex and HIV risk. Men (41%), when compared to women (22%), were almost twice as likely to have at least one factor increasing HIV risk. There was no significant association between sex and HIV risk perception. Findings revealed that both men (99.6%) and women (99.6%) equally lacked HIV risk perception.