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Since 2000, the rates of HIV testing have remained relatively low and constant in the United States, with about one third of Americans ever having had an HIV test. The Duke University researchers who conducted an analysis of testing rates argue that while national HIV testing efforts have been expanded to include lower risk populations, there is still untapped potential to increase testing rates among high-risk individuals.
“We found that high-risk groups want to get tested – but their actions don’t match up with their intentions,” said Brian Wells Pence, Ph.D., an infectious diseases epidemiologist at Duke University’s Center for Health Policy and co-author of a study. The analysis of health surveys of 146,868 Americans showed that those at high risk for HIV, those who were depressed, and those who abused alcohol all demonstrated significant gaps between their intentions to get tested and their actual testing behaviour – an observation that did not hold for lower-risk groups.
“Recent policy statements emphasize broadening HIV testing in the general population,” Pence said. “But such efforts should not come at the expense of trying to meet the desire for testing in higher risk groups. The results of our analysis suggest that high-risk groups know they should be tested – so significant potential may still exist to increase testing in such groups by focusing on access. Patients at alcohol and mental health treatment sites, for example, may be receptive to increased testing opportunities.” People at high risk for contracting AIDS include those who have unprotected sex or who are injection drug abusers.
MEDICA.de; Source: Duke University Medical Center