Distance and the Health Status of Persons Living with HIV

Location: Northern Indiana

Alumni: Kaila Barber

Faculty: Heidi Beidinger

This cross sectional, quantitative study determined how accessibility to health care facilities impacted the health status of persons living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (PLWH) in Northern Indiana. This was done by identifying the relationship between distances traveled to health care facilities, CD4 count, and viral load status of study participants. Variables on 295 study participants were analyzed using Geographic Information Systems and software package SPSS. The results suggested the distance traveled to primary care providers and infectious disease specialists did not significantly impact the health status of study participants, yet study participants provided transportation by AIDS Ministries/AIDS Assists of Northern Indiana (AMAA) generally had a higher mean CD4 count than study participants not provided transportation. This suggested AMAA mitigated distance to health care facilities as a barrier to care, but not all study participants experienced improved accessibility to health care facilities. African Americans provided transportation had a lower health status than those not provided transportation. This indicated a disconnect between services provided and the health status of study participants. In order to maximize services provided to PLWH, more resources should be allocated to transportation services and services towards African American PLWH.

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