Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Faye Belgrave


Although the number of HIV infected peaked in the late 1980’s, HIV remains a major concern within the African American community (CDC, 2008). African Americans are disproportionately affected, comprising 14% of the U.S. population but representing 44% of new HIV infections in 2009 (CDC, 2011). It is vital to identify barriers to positive health behaviors like consistent condom use and HIV testing. This study focus on factors impacting attitudes towards HIV testing, including mistrust of the healthcare system, measured by support for HIV conspiracy theories (Thomas & Quinn, 1991). It also examined the prevalence of HIV conspiracy beliefs among African American college students, along with their perceptions of racism. The first goal of this study was to determine if perceived racism and HIV conspiracy theories are predictors of HIV testing attitudes. The second goal was to examine if perceived racism moderates the relationship between conspiracy beliefs and HIV testing attitudes. The findings indicated that higher levels of HIV conspiracy beliefs were associated with more negative attitudes towards HIV testing. The association between perceived racism and testing attitudes was marginally significant, while the interaction between perceived racism and testing was not significant. Implications for research and HIV interventions are discussed.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2013

Included in

Psychology Commons