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Spread of HIV could slow if repeat testing is supported


Findings of a recent study published in Public Health Nursing suggest that if the main barriers preventing high-risk populations from having routine testing for HIV are addressed, the spread of AIDS could be slowed in the US.

The study, conducted at an urgent care center in Atlanta, GA, interviewed 143 high-risk patients to identify behavioral and psychosocial barriers associated with having repeat and routine aids testing. Women, who had been tested for HIV previously, were asked their likelihood of being tested again. Of the women who had a low likelihood of being tested, 25% said it was because they are not worried about becoming infected with HIV and 40% don’t believe testing is an important part of their healthcare. These two main barriers support the need for more education and social programs to help women see the benefits of HIV testing.

The third correlate found that 37% of the women interviewed are concerned about having blood drawn, proving that the practice of offering women an alternative, such as oral tests, could further encourage testing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that approximately one third of US residents currently infected by HIV are unaware they are infected. By identifying these prevalent behavioral and psychosocial correlates, steps can be taken to increase the number of people who are aware they are infected, "thereby creating an opportunity for their adoption of behaviors limiting the probability of HIV transmission to others."

Sharon Agsalda | EurekAlert!
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