The social environment in the Bronx, NY, has led to HIV infection rates among young people that are much higher than the national average.
A prospective observational study on a convenience sample of medically stable emergency department (ED) patients was conducted from October 1, 2005, to August 31, 2012. Acceptability of the tested model was determined by assessing the number of patients tested and identified HIV infections. Data were compared with data from the rest of the ED that tested for HIV.
A total of 10,149 adolescents were approached during this period, of which 9.5% refused or were ineligible to test. Of those approached, 38.9% of patients were male, 59.7% were Hispanic, and 33.6% were black. The mean age was 19.4 ± 1.4 years, and 8.2% of patients were men who have sex with men. For risk behavior profiles, 24.3% never used condoms in the past 3 months. Incidence of HIV was less than 1%, and 92.6% of HIV-positive patients were linked to care. Of the patients who completed a postsatisfaction survey, 82.4% felt influenced to change their sexual practices.
A smaller percentage of adolescent had tested previously for HIV compared with nonadolescents (67.7% vs. 80.6%). There was a slightly larger percentage of adolescents that accepted HIV testing compared with nonadolescents (95.4% vs. 90.8%). Adolescents who were positive for HIV were tested earlier in the progression of the disease, with higher median CD4 cell counts and lower viral loads compared with nonadolescents.
Adolescents were highly receptive to a multimedia-integrated ED-based HIV testing program, as indicated by their high uptake of testing.