- Fear of a positive test result is the
number one reason why some high-risk individuals avoid HIV testing, according
to a federal survey released Wednesday. But some homosexual men said not
wanting their names reported to the government is their primary reason
for skipping the tests, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- The main factor for delaying or not getting
tested was fear of a positive test result, reported by 25 percent and 23
- The Survey underscores the need to continue
government funding for anonymous HIV testing, even as the agency asks states
to start keeping names of people who get treated for the virus that causes
AIDS, the CDC said.
- Earlier this month, the CDC published
new recommendations in which it asked all states to begin reporting HIV
cases either with the person's name or an identifying code. The CDC says
the information will help health officials track HIV cases before they
become full-blown AIDS. But some AIDS activists believe privacy concerns
will steer some people away from being tested at all.
- For the new study, the CDC surveyed 556
people in nine states in late 1995 and 1996 who were considered at high
risk for HIV but said they had not been tested. They included homosexuals,
intravenous drug users and heterosexuals recruited from clinics for sexually
- The main factors for delaying or not
getting tested were:
- * Fear of a positive test result, reported
by 25 percent of those who had not been tested and 23 percent of those
who had delayed testing * Thinking that they were HIV negative (reported
by 13 percent and 11 percent respectively) * Thinking they were unlikely
to have been exposed to HIV (18 percent and 10 percent respectively) *
Not wanting to think about the possibility of being HIV-positive (8 percent
and 9 percent respectively) * Thinking there was little they could do
about it if they were HIV positive (6 percent and 4 percent respectively).
- Nineteen percent of the respondents who
had never been tested for HIV listed concern about their name being reported
to the government as one of many reasons they did not get tested, but only
2 percent listed this as the main reason for not being tested.
- This concern was highest among gay men,
with 4 percent listing it as the main factor for not being tested. Gay
men living in states that already report names were more concerned about
privacy. Thirty-five percent of that group said name reporting was one
reason they avoided testing.