Medical News

Assessing Targeted Screening and Low Rates of HIV Testing

September 20, 2010

At the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, D.C., (VAMC-DC), written informed consent along with HIV pretest and post-test counseling had, until recently, been required by federal law, explained the study authors. They sought to assess rates of HIV testing at VAMC-DC based on targeting patients with identified risk factors.


From 2000 to 2007, a cumulative retrospective review was performed to assess the number of patients who were provided medical care at VAMC-DC, tested for HIV, and underwent confirmatory testing. Data on demographic characteristics and HIV acquisition risks also were collected.

At VAMC-DC, 3.8 percent to 4.9 percent (mean=4.25 percent) of patients in care without known HIV infection underwent annual HIV screening. On average, a yearly rate of 3.4 percent was found among those tested for HIV. During the study period, HIV prevalence ranged from 2.1 percent to 2.5 percent. "Among patients receiving HIV care, 41.5 percent disclosed no risk factors for HIV acquisition," according to the results.

"Given that the HIV prevalence observed in this study was above 2 percent and that 41.5 percent of patients in care did not disclose any acquisition risks, targeted HIV screening has not been sufficient," the study authors concluded. "HIV testing must be broadened and offered as part of routine medical care."

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Adapted from:
American Journal of Public Health
09.2010; Vol. 100; No. 9: P. 1765-1768; Leigh A. Kennedy, DO; Fred M. Gordin, MD; Virginia L. Kan, MD

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.

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