Semester of Graduation

Spring 2020

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Geography and Anthropology

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

This study examines HIV testing accessibility in the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Statistical Area (BR MSA) using the two-step floating catchment area (2SFCA) method to calculate accessibility scores for free, low-cost and all other HIV testing facilities. The two goals of this research are to apply accessibility estimation methods to HIV testing facilities, and to examine the accessibility of HIV testing facilities in the BR MSA. To achieve these goals, this study uses several research methods. The data about HIV testing providers and their locations were collected through Internet searches. By means of a fieldwork, the data were checked, revealing that only 20% of the free HIV testing providers found online are active and free. Almost all free testing providers are clustered in the largest cities, many facilities claimed as “free” turned out to be “low-cost” instead. A disaggregation technique with a linear regression was used to acquire the HIV prevalence rate at the census tract level, because it is only available at the parish/county level. To address accessibility questions, geographical methods, including mapping, the 2SFCA method, and the hot spot analysis were used. The low-cost testing providers are allocated equally throughout the study area and partly compensate the lack of free HIV testing providers for people outside of the largest cities. Almost all population of the BR MSA has access to HIV testing facilities, low-cost and fully charged, within a 30-minute driving time threshold. However, people living in the outskirts of the BR MSA have no access to free HIV testing providers even within a 40-minute driving time threshold.

Committee Chair

Leitner, Michael

Available for download on Saturday, March 13, 2021

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