Objective: To evaluate testing practices and perceptions of HIV risk among a geographically diverse, population-based sample of sexually active adults who reported behaviors that could transmit HIV.
Design: Secondary analysis of the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) 2000 survey.
Patients/Participants: Sexually active adults less than 50 years old, who completed the Sexual Behavior Module of the BRFSS 2000 survey administered in 4 U.S. states.
Measurements and Main Results: Nineteen percent of the study population reported one or more behaviors in the past year that increased their risk of HIV infection (men 23%; women 15%). In this subgroup at any increased risk of HIV infection, 49% reported having had an HIV test in the past year. For 71% of those tested, the HIV test was self-initiated. Younger age was the only factor independently associated with whether or not individuals with behaviors that increased their risk of HIV infection had had a recent HIV test. Among the 51% of individuals at risk who reported no recent HIV test, 84% perceived their risk as low or none.
Conclusions: In this study, about half of the individuals who reported behaviors that could transmit HIV had not been recently tested for HIV. Of those not tested, most considered their risk of HIV to be low or none. Interventions to expand HIV testing and increase awareness of HIV risk appear to be needed to increase early detection of HIV infection and to reduce its spread.