Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Nursing (Nursing)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Joseph De Santis

Second Committee Member

Karina Gattamorta

Third Committee Member

Ana Garcia

Fourth Committee Member

Natalia Villegas Rodriguez

Fifth Committee Member

Jessica Roberts Williams


HIV testing is used to identify people at risk for HIV infection, or those who are infected, and provide linkage to appropriate care that will decrease HIV risk or manage HIV infection. However, youth have low rates of HIV testing and participate in testing mainly due to recommendations from healthcare providers. The purpose of this dissertation was to explore the factors that influence proactive HIV testing among youth and how these factors are related to the decision to test for HIV infection. The Information Motivation Behavior (IMB) model, and the Ottawa Decision Support Framework (ODSF) were used to guide the creation of the semi-structured interview guide and the analysis of the data in this study. A qualitative descriptive study was conducted in Miami-Dade County, Florida. The sample included 30 youth who were aged 18 to 24 years. Participants were recruited from multiple HIV testing sites in South Florida. Individual, face-to-face, semi-structured, audio-recorded interviews were conducted with each participant. Data were analyzed using the directed content analysis method. The findings from this study described how participants identify and accept HIV risk, seek support or resources to undertake HIV testing, and proactively seek HIV testing. Five supporting themes that further explained these findings included: Testing within the Context of a Relationship, Support from Social Relationships, Taking Initiative for Health, HIV Testing Preferences, and HIV Testing Experiences. This study revealed the resources youth need to seek HIV testing proactively, including modifiable and non-modifiable influences of proactive HIV testing. The results of this study provided recommendations for nursing practice, policy, and future nursing research.


HIV Testing; Youth; HIV Screening; Proactive HIV Testing; Teen; Adolescent