HIV Testing and Mistaken Beliefs about Immigration Laws

  • Carol L. GalletlyEmail author
  • Julia Lechuga
  • Laura R. Glasman
  • Wayne DiFranceisco
  • Michelle R. Broaddus
  • Julia B. Dickson-Gomez
  • Timothy L. McAuliffe
  • Miriam Vega
  • Sara LeGrand
  • Carla A. Mena
  • Morgan L. Barlow
  • Judith I. Montenegro


Evidence suggests that migrants may underutilize USA health care because of misconceptions about immigration-related consequences of health care use. This study aimed to explore whether common misconceptions about the immigration consequences of seeking health care, receiving an HIV test, and being diagnosed with HIV were associated with participant self-report of never having received an HIV test. The study sample comprised 297 adult, sexually active, documented and undocumented Spanish-speaking Latino migrants. Participants completed a cross-sectional survey via ACASI. In multiple logistic regression analyses controlling for sociodemographic variables and HIV stigma, misconceptions about laws emerged as a strong predictor of never having received an HIV test (p < .001). Associations between participants’ endorsement of misconceptions and their HIV testing history suggest that incorrect perceptions of laws do deter some subgroups of USA Latino migrants from HIV testing. Identifying misconceptions about negative immigration consequences of engaging in important health behaviors should be a community health research priority.


Immigration law Perceived immigration laws Migrant Immigrant Latino HIV testing 



The authors would like to thank all of the participants and community partners that made this important study possible.


This study was funded by The National Institutes of Health (Grant Numbers 1R01MH091875-02 and P30MH052776-23).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© W. Montague Cobb-NMA Health Institute 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carol L. Galletly
    • 1
    Email author
  • Julia Lechuga
    • 2
  • Laura R. Glasman
    • 1
  • Wayne DiFranceisco
    • 1
  • Michelle R. Broaddus
    • 1
  • Julia B. Dickson-Gomez
    • 1
  • Timothy L. McAuliffe
    • 1
  • Miriam Vega
    • 3
  • Sara LeGrand
    • 4
  • Carla A. Mena
    • 4
  • Morgan L. Barlow
    • 5
  • Judith I. Montenegro
    • 6
  1. 1.Center for AIDS Intervention Research, The Medical College of WisconsinMilwaukeeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Education and Human ServicesLehigh UniversityBethlehemUSA
  3. 3.UMMA Community ClinicLos AngelesUSA
  4. 4.Center for Health Policy and Inequalities ResearchDuke Global Health Institute, Duke UniversityDurhamUSA
  5. 5.Duke UniversityDurhamUSA
  6. 6.The Latino Commission on AIDSNew YorkUSA

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