40% of US Adults Have
Had HIV Test
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - About 42% of adults in the US have been tested for HIV, either voluntarily or to obtain insurance, enter the military or for their job, according to a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia.
However, the rate of testing varied widely from state to state, and - not surprisingly - tends to be higher in states with a high rate of AIDS cases. For example, only 26% of adults in South Dakota said they had been tested for HIV compared with 60% of those in Washington, DC, which had the highest AIDS rate.
In most states, men were more likely than women to have undergone an HIV test. But women were more likely to have had the test voluntarily.
Overall, about 22% of those tested had the test for personal or health reasons, with the bulk of tests part of job or insurance requirements.
The telephone survey, conducted in 1996, included 97,006 people between 18 and 65 in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
"HIV testing can help reach at-risk person with counseling and other prevention services and link infected persons with needed health care services,'' according to the CDC. The federal agency notes that "not all persons need to be tested for HIV.'' Testing is recommended for all people with risk factors for the disease, and in specific situations such as pregnancy or in tissue donation.
"Prevention programs should be structured to increase the proportion of at-risk persons who receive HIV-testing services,'' advise CDC experts.
SOURCE: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 1999;48:52-55.