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Sexual-Risk Behaviour and HIV Testing among Canadian Snowbirds Who Winter in Florida*

  • Katie Mairs (a1) and Sandra L. Bullock (a1)

Rates of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and sexual-risk behaviour for those aged 50 and over in the United States are highest and increasing in Florida, where many Canadian “snowbirds” winter. This pilot study examined the sexual-risk behaviour and predictors of HIV testing in a convenience sample of Canadian snowbirds who winter in Florida (n = 265). Multivariate logistic regression analyses revealed that the odds of testing were increased for the unmarried, those aged 50–64, those who had talked to a doctor about sexual-risk behaviour since age 50, and those who agreed that sex was important in their lives. Dating males were more likely to test than non-dating males. Dating females were not more likely to test than non-dating females; and males who dated were 13.6 times more likely to test than females who dated. Further research will improve understanding of Canadian snowbirds’ sexual interactions and HIV-testing behaviour.


Les taux de VIH (virus d’immunodéficience humaine) et les comportements à risque pour les personnes âgées de 50 et plus aux États-Unis sont les plus élevés et les plus croissants en Floride, ou beaucoup de retraités migrateurs canadiens passent leurs hivers. Cette étude pilote a examiné le comportement sexuel à risque et les prédicteurs du dépistage du VIH dans un échantillon facilement accessible de Canadiens qui hivernent en Floride (n – 265). Des analyses multivariées de regression logistique ont révelé que la probabilité de tests ont été augmentés pour les célibataires, les personnes âgées de 50 ans, ceux qui avaient parlé à un médecin au sujet des comportements sexuels à risque depuis 50 ans, et ceux qui estiment que le sexe est important dans leur vies. Les hommes qui fréquentaient les partenaires sexuels étaient plus susceptibles que ceux qui n’avaient pas de telles rencontres de se faire tester pour le VIH. Les femmes qui fréquentaient les partenaires sexuels n’étaient pas plus susceptibles que celles qui n’avaient pas de telles rencontres de se faire tester pour le VIH, et les hommes qui fréquentaient les partenaires sexuels étaient 13,6 fois plus susceptibles que les femmes de se faire tester. Des recherches supplémentaires nous permettront d’améliorer notre compréhension des interactions sexuelles parmi les retraités migrateurs canadiens et de leur tendances à se faire tester pour le VIH.

Corresponding author
Correspondence and requests for offprints should be sent to / La correspondance et les demandes de tirés-à-part doivent être adressées à: Katie Mairs, M.Sc. School of Public Health and Health Systems, BMH 3703 University of Waterloo 200 University Avenue West Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1 (
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This work was funded by an internal University of Waterloo seed grant. We gratefully acknowledge Julia Schlossberg-Vinson for her assistance with recruitment and data collection, Hina Parmar for her assistance with data entry, Linda Jessup and Nancy Pearce for their time and insightful feedback, and Brooke Manderson, Christine Glenny, and Paul Stolee for their input and comments on earlier drafts of this article. We are especially grateful to the Canadian snowbirds who participated in the study.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

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Canadian Journal on Aging / La Revue canadienne du vieillissement
  • ISSN: 0714-9808
  • EISSN: 1710-1107
  • URL: /core/journals/canadian-journal-on-aging-la-revue-canadienne-du-vieillissement
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