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AIDS. 2000 Aug 18;14(12):1801-8.

Does HIV reporting by name deter testing? MESH Study Group.

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Positive Health Program HIV Section, University of California at San Francisco, 94110, USA.



Name-based HIV reporting is controversial in the United States because of concerns that it may deter high-risk persons from being tested. We sought to determine whether persons at risk of HIV infection knew their state's HIV reporting policy and whether they had delayed or avoided testing because of it.


A cross-sectional anonymous survey.


We interviewed 2404 participants in one of three high-risk groups: men who have sex with men (MSM), heterosexuals attending a sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinic, and street-recruited injection drug users (IDU). Participants were asked standardized questions about their knowledge of reporting policies and reasons for having delayed or avoided testing. We recruited in eight US states: four with name-based reporting and four without; all offered anonymous testing at certain sites.


Fewer than 25% correctly identified their state's HIV reporting policy. Over 50% stated they did not know whether their state used name-based reporting. Of the total, 480 participants (20%) had never been tested. Of these, 17% from states with name-based reporting selected concern about reporting as a reason for not testing compared with 14% from states without name-based reporting (P = 0.5). Comparing previously tested participants from states with name-based reporting to those from states without, concern about HIV reporting was given as a reason for delaying testing by 26% compared with 13% of IDU (P < 0.001), and for 26% compared with 19% of MSM (P = 0.06).


Most participants did not know their state's HIV reporting policy. Name-based reporting policies were not associated with avoiding HIV testing because of worry about reporting, although they may have contributed to delays in testing among some IDU.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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