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AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2004 Jan;18(1):27-33.

Race/ethnic disparities in HIV testing and knowledge about treatment for HIV/AIDS: United States, 2001.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.


In the United States, access to HIV care has remained suboptimal for people of color. To assess racial disparities in HIV testing and knowledge about treatment for HIV/AIDS in the United States, we analyzed the 2001 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. We obtained the percentage of respondents aged 18 to 64 years who: (1) were tested for HIV ever and recently (in the past 12 months) excluding for blood donations and (2) responded "true" to the statement, "There are medical treatments available that are intended to help a person who is infected with HIV to live longer." We calculated the difference in rates of HIV testing and knowledge about treatment between blacks or Latinos compared to whites. Overall, of the 162,962 respondents, 44.7% had been tested for HIV and 12.8% were tested in the past year. Overall, 86.4% answered "true" to the statement on treatment for HIV/AIDS. HIV testing rates were significantly lower among whites (ever, 42.4%; recent, 10.8%) than blacks (ever, 59.7%; recent, 23.4%) or Latinos (ever 45.6%, recent 14.8%). Compared to knowledge among whites (89.6%), knowledge level was, lower among blacks (odds ratio [OR] = 0.58, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.52, 0.64) and Latinos (OR = 0.67, 95%CI = 0.59, 0.75) even after adjusting for sociodemographics and HIV testing status. The knowledge gap among blacks compared to whites decreased with increasing income and education. We conclude that knowledge about the availability of antiretroviral treatment was high overall. Compared to whites, blacks, and latinos had significantly higher HIV testing rates but significantly lower knowledge about antiretrovirals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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