Living in a disadvantaged urban neighborhood can increase a male residents’ risk of contracting HIV, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Their study related disadvantaged neighborhoods to stress and stress to increased injection drug use in male study participants. This is the first empirical study that illustrates how neighborhood characteristics may directly lead to HIV infection. The study is published in the January 2005 issue of Health Psychology.
Carl A. Latkin, PhD, lead author of the study and an associate professor in the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of Health Policy and Management, explained that HIV rates are known to differ by geographic location and that disadvantaged urban areas tend to have high rates of HIV.
He said, “Past studies have shown a consistent relationship between socioeconomic status and health, but the ways in which neighborhood characteristics impact health behaviors are poorly understood. Our findings show how neighborhood characteristics and stressors, such as crime, abandoned buildings, loitering, unemployment, crowding and litter lead to greater depression. Individuals who have high levels of depression tend to take more illicit drugs and engage in more risk behaviors.”
Kenna L. Lowe | EurekAlert!
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