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To identify factors associated with uptake of HIV testing a questionnaire was given to patients attending a GUM clinic over a three-week period. One hundred and twenty (69.4%) of 189 patients accepted and 53 (30.6%) refused testing. Variables associated with having a HIV test were: being tested previously (P=0.045), given a leaflet about testing (P=0.001), told about the window period (P=0.006), told about availability of counselling (P=0.030), given insurance advice (P=0.014), and a past history of sexually transmitted infections (P=0.044). Most patients perceived a low risk of being HIV positive (n=143, 75.7%) with no difference between those accepting or declining testing. The principal reason for testing was a check-up, and for refusal was a lack of perceived risk. Patients who are well informed about HIV testing are more likely to accept a test.