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Prev Chronic Dis. 2011 Sep;8(5):A110. Epub 2011 Aug 15.

Awareness of direct-to-consumer genetic tests and use of genetic tests among Puerto Rican adults, 2009.

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Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, Medical Sciences Campus, University of Puerto Rico, PO Box 365067, San Juan, PR.



Genetic testing remains low among racial/ethnic minority populations in the United States. We aimed to determine the prevalence and correlates of awareness of direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests and the prevalence of genetic test use in a population-based sample of adults in Puerto Rico.


We analyzed data from adults aged 18 years or older who completed information on genetic test awareness (n = 611; 96% of study population) from the Health Information National Trends Survey conducted in Puerto Rico in 2009. Odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals were estimated by using logistic regression models to identify factors associated with awareness of DTC genetic tests.


The majority of respondents (56%) were aware of direct-to-consumer genetic tests, and approximately 4% had ever undergone any genetic test. Respondents who had never been married were less likely to be aware of DTC tests, as were current smokers. Respondents who ever sought cancer information were more likely to be aware of these tests.


We provide the first published data on the awareness of DTC genetic tests and on use of genetic testing in Puerto Rico. Forty-four percent of our sample of Puerto Rican adults were unaware of direct-to-consumer genetic tests. Given the lack of clear benefits of DTC genetic tests to the general population, educational interventions should be developed to increase awareness and specific knowledge regarding the appropriate use of DTC genetic tests among people who are already aware of their existence.

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