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HIV Conspiracy Theory Belief or Institutional Mistrust? A Call for Disentangling Key Concepts.

Authors
  • Sauermilch, Daniel1
  • 1 Columbia University, 5798, Clinical Psychology, 525 120th St., New York City, New York, New York, United States, 10027-6902; [email protected] , (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses
Publisher
Mary Ann Liebert
Publication Date
Dec 08, 2019
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1089/AID.2019.0223
PMID: 31813236
Source
Medline
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Researchers studying the mental health implications of HIV continue to conflate institutional mistrust (i.e., medical and/or governmental) with HIV conspiracy theory belief in spite of a multitude of existing scales that measure both independently. While this conflation is made frequently, measuring for HIV conspiracy theory belief in select (largely Black) populations while choosing to forgo a scale for the assessment of institutional mistrust is likewise a fairly common practice. Therefore, research done on the prevalence of HIV conspiracy theories in Black populations ought to be scrutinized for bias. By doing so, the differences and similarities of these phenomena would be clarified and perhaps the way could be paved for a new HIV conspiracy theory belief scale that factors in the Internet's profound effect on conspiracy theory dissemination while ensuring the ethical practice of HIV-related research in the future.

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