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Public Health Rep. 2008 Nov-Dec;123 Suppl 3:70-7.

Feasibility of using computer-assisted interviewing to enhance HIV test counseling in community settings.

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Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.



Significant advances in the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) place a premium on early detection and linkage to care. Recognizing the need to efficiently yet comprehensively provide HIV counseling, we assessed the feasibility of using audio computer-assisted self-inventory (A-CASI) in a community-based HIV counseling and testing facility.


A convenience sample of 50 adults presenting for HIV testing was recruited to complete an 85-item computerized HIV Assessment of Risk Inventory (HARI) containing domains of demographics, sexual behaviors, alcohol and substance use, emotional well-being, past experiences with HIV testing, and attitudes about taking HARI.


Client acceptance rate was limited by the completion time outlined during the intake process. However, the majority of respondents who completed HARI felt that it took only a short to moderate time to complete and was easy to understand. A majority also reported a preference for using a computerized format in the future. Further, HARI identified a number of risk-taking behaviors, including unprotected anal sex and substance use prior to past sexual encounters. Additionally, more than half of the sample reported moderate to severe depressive symptoms.


Those respondents who had time to complete the survey accepted the A-CASI interview, and it was successful at identifying a substantial level of risk-taking behaviors. A-CASI has the potential to guide HIV counselors in providing risk-reduction counseling and referral activities. However, results suggested the need to shorten the instrument, and further studies are needed to determine applicability in other HIV testing sites.

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