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To estimate the prevalence of, and identify factors associated with, HIV testing in Britain.A large, stratified probability sample survey of sexual attitudes and lifestyles.A total of 12 110 16–44 year olds completed a computer-assisted face-to-face interview and self-interview. Self-reports of HIV testing, i.e. the timing, reasons for and location of testing, were included.A total of 32.4% of men and 31.7% of women reported ever having had an HIV test, the majority of whom were tested through blood donation. When screening for blood donation and pregnancy were excluded, 9.0% of men and 4.6% of women had had a voluntary confidential HIV test (VCT) in the past 5 years. However, one third of injecting drug users and men who have sex with men had a VCT in the past 5 years. VCT in the past 5 years was significantly associated with age, residence, ethnicity, self-perceived HIV risk, reporting greater numbers of sexual partners, new sexual partners from abroad, previous sexually transmitted infection diagnosis, and injecting non-prescribed drugs for men and women, and same-sex partners (men only). Whereas sexually transmitted disease clinics were important sites for VCT, general practice accounted for almost a quarter of VCT.HIV testing is relatively common in Britain; however, it remains largely associated with population-based blood donation and antenatal screening programmes. In contrast, VCT remains highly associated with high-risk (sexual or drug-injecting) behaviours or population sub-groups at high risk. Strategies to reduce undiagnosed prevalent HIV infection will require further normalization and wider uptake of HIV testing.