Young men between the ages of 15 and 39 often visited doctor’s offices, but they aren’t often being tested for HV, according to a study published in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
“Although the optimal annual percentage of visits with an HIV test to achieve universal testing is unknown, these results indicate there are opportunities to improve HIV testing rates at physicians’ offices,” wrote D. Cal Ham, MD, of the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, and colleagues.
The researchers examined data from the 2009–2012 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and the US Census to calculate the number of visits to doctors’ offices, and how much testing for HIV was conducted among “HIV-negative non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and Hispanic males aged 15–39 years.”
The results indicated that HIV testing was not performed in 99% of the visits. The researchers wrote: “Overall, HIV testing was performed at 674,001 (1.0%) of the visits made by males aged 15–39 years. Compared with white males, for whom HIV testing was reported at 0.7% of visits, HIV testing was reported at 2.7% of visits by black males (prevalence ratio [PR] = 3.8; p<0.001) and 1.4% of visits by Hispanic males (PR = 2.0; p = 0.08).”
CDC officials noted in the report that lack of education about national testing recommendations, as well as health care access may have played a role in the low testing rates.
Ham CD, Huang Y, Gvetadze R, et al. Health Care Use and HIV Testing of Males Aged 15–39 Years in Physicians’ Offices — United States, 2009–2012. MMWR. 2016;65(24);619–622.