HIV Testing Among the General US Population and Persons at Increased Risk: Information From National Surveys, 1987-1996

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Objectives.We used data from national surveys to measure the rate of HIV testing in the general US population and among persons at increased behavioral risk and summarized what has been learned about HIV testing from these surveys.Methods.Three nationally representative surveys were used: the National Health Interview Survey for 1987 through 1995, the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth, and the 1996 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. These surveys asked about HIV testing experience and behavioral risks for HIV. Rates of testing were computed for all persons, including those at increased risk for HIV.Results.From 1987 to 1995, the percentage of adults ever tested increased from 16% to 40%. The 3 surveys were consistent with one another, and all showed much higher rates of testing for persons at increased risk for HIV.Conclusions.Surveys have provided information on HIV testing that is not available elsewhere, including rates of testing from private sources and public programs. Efforts to measure HIV testing and its correlates should continue and should be improved to provide information essential for effective programs.

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