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Barriers to HIV Testing Among HIV/AIDS Concurrently Diagnosed Persons in New York City

Mills, Caroline W. MPH; Sabharwal, Charulata J. MD, MPH; Udeagu, Chi-Chi MPH; Bocour, Angelica MPH; Bodach, Sara MPH; Shepard, Colin MD; Begier, Elizabeth M. MD, MPH

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: August 2011 - Volume 38 - Issue 8 - pp 715-721
doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0b013e31820ead73
Original Study

Objectives: To assess barriers to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing, health care contacts history, and HIV testing history among patients diagnosed concurrently with HIV and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Methods: We surveyed patients concurrently diagnosed with HIV/AIDS who had participated in the partner notification program of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, between January 2008 and December 2008.

Results: The most common reason interviewees volunteered for delaying testing (64%) was that they did not believe they were at risk for HIV. When read a list of potential barriers, 69% of interviewees replied affirmatively that they did not test for HIV because they did not believe they were at risk, and 52% replied affirmatively that they did not test because they thought their behaviors kept them safe from getting HIV. Half of all interviewees reported having insurance during part or all of the year before they were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, and 70% had at least 1 health care visit in the year before they were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.

Conclusions: A lack of perception of risk was the most common reason for not testing for HIV sooner among these concurrently diagnosed patients. The majority of these patients were accessing medical care, indicating that this population could have benefited from routine HIV testing.

A survey of late testers diagnosed concurrently with human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome in New York City found that lack of perception of HIV risk was the most common reason for not testing sooner.

From the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York, NY

Supported in part by a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U62/CCU223460–06–1).

Correspondence: Caroline Mills, MPH, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, HIV Epidemiology and Field Services, 346 Broadway, Room 706, New York, NY 10013. E-mail: mills.carrie@gmail.com.

Received for publication July 6, 2010, and accepted January 5, 2011.

© Copyright 2011 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association