One-Fifth Of People At High Risk Of HIV Are Tested Annually In US

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About one-fifth of U.S. residents considered to be at high risk of HIVreceived an HIV test in any given year between 2000 and 2005, accordingto a study published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine, Reuters reports.

Researchers examined responses from 147,000 U.S. residents ages 18 to 64 who participated in CDChealth surveys from 2000 through 2005. The researchers found that"rates of past-year HIV testing remained constant and low throughoutthe study period." According to the study, 10% of all respondentsreported they had received an HIV test in the previous year. About 38%of respondents had never been tested for HIV, the study found.

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Amongpeople at high risk of HIV -- including injection drug users and menwho have sex with men -- 22% had been tested in the previous year.Twenty-seven percent of people at high risk said they had planned to betested for the virus in the upcoming year, but only 11% sought out anHIV test in the previous year. About 19% of those considered to be atmedium risk for HIV were tested in a given year, the study found. Abouthalf of people at high risk who received HIV tests were tested on theirown initiative. The other half received tests as part of medicalexaminations, health insurance applications, prenatal care, militaryentrance or other reasons -- suggesting that policies to integrate HIVtesting have had some success -- the study said.

"Largedifferences in testing rates according to race and sex remainedrelatively constant, with minority females reporting the highest ratesof testing and white males reporting the lowest rates," the researcherssaid. Brian Pence, an epidemiologist at Duke Universitywho participated in the study, said that about 1.1 million Americansare HIV-positive and that about 25% of them do not know they are livingwith the virus.

"The (AIDS prevention) information is gettingout there," Pence said, adding, "High-risk groups are appropriatelyassessing their risk and are interested in testing. And yet there'sthis gap between intention and action." Pence added that expanded HIVtesting is a key step in curbing the spread of the virus in the U.S.(Dunham, Reuters, 10/22).
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Reprinted with permission fromkaisernetwork.org.You can view the entire KaiserDaily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and signup for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published forkaisernetwork.org,a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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