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AIDS. 1995 May;9(5):487-92.

HIV testing patterns: where, why, and when were persons with AIDS tested for HIV?

Author information

Division of HIV/AIDS, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.



To describe the location of, primary reason for, and time between the first positive HIV test and AIDS diagnosis in a sample of persons with newly diagnosed AIDS.


Interviews supplementing information routinely collected through AIDS case reporting.


Eleven US states and cities.


Persons with AIDS (2441) diagnosed between January 1990 and December 1992.


Location of first positive HIV test, primary reason for testing, and time interval between first positive HIV test and AIDS diagnosis.


Overall, persons were tested late in their course of HIV infection: 36% were tested for HIV within 2 months and 51% within 1 year of their AIDS diagnosis. Sixty-five per cent were HIV-tested in acute health-care settings: 33% in hospitals, 28% in physicians' offices, and 4% in emergency departments. Testing during hospitalization was most common among injecting drug users (43%) and persons infected through heterosexual contact (50%). Persons primarily sought HIV testing because of illness (58%); other reasons included being in a known risk group (13%) and having had a known HIV-infected sex partner (8%). Testing because of being in a known risk group was least common among persons infected through heterosexual contact (1%). Among persons in these exposure categories, testing differed by race/ethnicity.


Most persons with AIDS were tested relatively late in their course of HIV infection, in acute health-care settings, and because of illness. Not knowing one's serostatus precludes early medical intervention and may increase transmission.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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