Title

Assessing targeted screening and low rates of HIV testing

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

9-1-2010

Journal

American Journal of Public Health

Volume

100

Issue

9

DOI

10.2105/AJPH.2009.182790

Abstract

Objectives. We assessed rates of HIV testing based on targeting patients with identified risk factors at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, DC (VAMC-DC), where written informed consent along with pretest and posttest counseling had, until recently, been required by federal law. Methods. A cumulative retrospective review of the period 2000 through 2007 was conducted to assess the number of patients who were provided medical care at VAMC-DC, tested for HIV, and underwent confirmatory testing. Data on demographic characteristics and risks for HIV acquisition were also collected. Results. At VAMC-DC, 3.8% to 4.9% (mean = 4.25%) of patients in care without known HIV infection underwent HIV screening annually. On average, HIV was confirmed at a yearly rate of 3.4% among those tested. During the study period, HIV prevalence ranged from 2.1% to 2.5%. Among patients receiving HIV care, 41.5% disclosed no risk factors for HIV acquisition. Conclusions. Given that the HIV prevalence observed in this study was above 2% and that 41.5% of patients in care did not disclose any acquisition risks, targeted HIV screening has not been sufficient. HIV testing must be broadened and offered as part of routine medical care.

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