Prevalence of HIV Testing and High-Risk HIV Behavior Among 18- to 22-Year-Old Students and Nonstudents: Results of the National Survey of Family Growth

The current study characterizes HIV testing and high-risk behavior among 2,007 nationally representative adults ages 18-22. Conducted between March 2002 and February 2003, Cycle 6 of the National Survey of Family Growth involved students and nonstudents. Data were analyzed using univariate and multivariate methods.

The estimated proportion who ever tested for HIV, excluding during blood donation, was 34.2 percent (95 percent confidence interval [CI]: 31.6 percent-36.8 percent). Testing was less frequent among students than nonstudents after adjusting for age, gender, race/ethnicity, and marital status (adjusted odds ratios [AOR]: 0.54; 95 percent CI: 0.40-0.73). The estimated proportion of individuals who had been screened for HIV in the previous year was 18.1 percent (95 percent CI: 16.1 percent-20.1 percent), with no difference by student status (AOR: 0.76; 95 percent CI: 0.55-1.05).

The estimated proportion reporting any high-risk HIV behavior was 37.5 percent (95 percent CI: 34.4 percent-40.5 percent). Of these, just 28.3 percent reported testing for HIV in the previous year (95 percent CI: 24.5 percent-32.0 percent), with no difference observed by student status (AOR: 0.91; 95 percent CI: 0.62-1.35).

"More than one-third of this young adult population reported high-risk HIV behavior," the study authors concluded. "Of these, less than one-third was tested for HIV during the year before the study. These results indicate that enhanced HIV testing and prevention efforts are needed for students and nonstudents, and that HIV testing in this age group should be monitored over time."