Risk Assessment to Improve Targeting of HIV Counseling and Testing Services for STD Clinic Patients

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Background and Objective:

To determine whether self-administered risk assessment could improve targeting of HIV counseling and testing in an STD clinic.

Study Design:

Computerized records from the Prince George's County, Maryland, STD clinic from 1993 through 1996 were used to develop and test models for predicting a positive HIV test. In 1996, a self-administered risk assessment was compared with a counselor's risk assessment of the same patient.


Testing the 10% of patients at highest risk would identify 39% of those who were HIV-positive; testing 70% of the patients could identify 92% of those who were HIV-positive. In 1996, 2,288 patients completed the self-administered HIV risk assessment. The same number of HIV-positive persons (7 [28%]) were identified using either self-assessment or face-to-face interview.


Selectively offering voluntary HIV testing based on risk assessment would not be useful because it would miss many infected persons. If prevention counseling cannot be offered to everyone, it could be targeted to those who report a risk by self-assessment.

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