Background: HIV testing is an important HIV prevention strategy, yet heterosexuals at high risk do not test as frequently as other groups. We examined the association of past year HIV testing and encounters with institutional settings where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends annual testing for high-risk heterosexuals.
Methods: We recruited high-risk heterosexuals in New York City in 2006 to 2007 through respondent-driven sampling. Respondents were asked the date of their most recent HIV test and any potential encounters with 4 testing settings (homeless shelters, jails/prisons, drug treatment programs, and health care providers). Analyses were stratified by gender.
Results: Of the 846 respondents, only 31% of men and 35% of women had a past year HIV test, but over 90% encountered at least one testing setting. HIV seroprevalence was 8%. In multiple logistic regression, recent HIV testing was significantly associated with recent encounters with homeless shelters and jails/prisons for men, and encounters with health care providers for both men and women.
Conclusions: HIV testing was low overall but higher for those with exposures to potential routine testing settings. Further expansion of testing in these settings would likely increase testing rates and may decrease new HIV infections among high-risk heterosexuals.