U.S. HIV Testing Remains Low
Posted by pozlife on October 27, 2007
In any given year, only about one-fifth of US residents at high risk for HIV are tested for the virus, new research shows. Many high-risk individuals also say they plan to take the test but fail to follow through.
“The [AIDS prevention] information is getting out there,” said study co-author Brian Pence, a Duke University epidemiologist. “High-risk groups are appropriately assessing their risk and are interested in testing. And yet there’s this gap between intention and action.”
The researchers studied the responses of about 147,000 US residents ages 18 to 64 to CDC health surveys between 2000 and 2005. Ten percent of respondents said they had been tested in the previous year, while 38 percent reported ever having been tested.
Nineteen percent of those deemed at medium risk were tested in a given year. Among persons whose behavior put them at high risk of infection, 22 percent were tested in the previous year. Only about half those tests were performed at the initiative of the individual: The rest were conducted due to insurance exams, military intake, medical checkups or other reasons.
Twenty-seven percent of persons at high risk said they planned to undergo a test in the coming year; however, only 11 percent of those had sought testing in the previous year.
“Large differences in testing rates according to race and sex remained relatively constant, with minority females reporting the highest rates of testing and white males reporting the lowest rates,” authors wrote.
The fact that nearly half of HIV tests were performed as part of medical checkups or prenatal care suggests that initiatives to make HIV testing a routine part of medical care may be producing results, the researchers said.
The full report, “Trends in HIV Testing and Differences Between Planned and Actual Testing in the United States, 2000-2005,” was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine (2007;167(19):2128-2135).
[This summary provided by the CDC National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention | Reuters | Oct. 22, 2007 | Will Dunham]