CDC Study Finds Those At Risk For HIV Infection Avoid Testing
Only 54% of those at high or medium risk for HIV infection in the United States have been tested, suggesting that the nation's HIV infection rate could be higher than originally thought, according to a new study by the CDC, the AP/Washington Post reports. A 1999 CDC survey asked 30,000 people if they fit into the following high risk groups -- intravenous drug users, men who have sex with men, those with blood-clotting problems and those who exchange sex for drugs. Anyone who had sex with a member of one of these groups was also considered at risk. The study found that although 54% of those considered at high or medium risk had been tested for HIV, only 25% of this group had been tested in the previous year (AP/Washington Post, 11/30). Overall, 30% of participants said they had been tested for HIV, an increase from 26% in 1995 and 5% in 1987. However, the results "underscore a problem" that has concerned health officials, as a "substantial segment" of those infected are probably unaware of their HIV status and could be spreading the virus. The study said most people do not get tested for the virus due to fears over confidentiality and a "lack of access to testing centers" ( AP/Baltimore Sun, 11/30). The study also found that whites were more likely to have an HIV test because it was required for employment, insurance, military purposes or surgery, while blacks were more likely to have a test "just to find out their HIV status" (AP/Washington Post, 11/30).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.