HIV testing among young adults and older adolescents in the setting of acute substance abuse treatment

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2001 Jun 1;27(2):135-42. doi: 10.1097/00126334-200106010-00007.


Objectives: To examine the feasibility and acceptance of HIV testing among youth in acute substance abuse treatment.

Methods: Youth, aged 18 to 25 years old, in state-funded inpatient detoxification completed a confidential demographic/risk behavior questionnaire, and were offered a choice of no testing, serum-based testing, or oral fluid (Orasure, Epitope, Inc., Beaverton, OR, U.S.A.) HIV testing.

Results: In all, 74% of 204 participants accepted HIV testing. In a multivariate model, female gender (odds ratio [OR], 0.32; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.14-0.74) and having been recently tested (OR, 0.11; 95% CI, 0.05-0.26) were independently associated with refusing testing. Recent sexual activity (OR, 5.4; 95% CI, 1.5-20.4), recent use of methamphetamines (speed) or a combination of cocaine and heroin (speedball) (OR, 3.8; 95% CI, 1.6-9.0), and a recent perceived risk for HIV (OR, 4.6; 95% CI, 1.9-10.9) were independently associated with test acceptance. Thus, 150 of 150 (100%) chose the Orasure test. Overall, 64.6% (97 of 150) of those tested received their results, but among participants requiring a follow-up appointment to learn test results, only 9.2% (8 of 87) returned.

Conclusions: HIV testing is feasible and acceptable in this population. All patients preferred Orasure testing to a serum enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Most youth tested in detoxification will only learn their results if they are provided during treatment. Rapid HIV testing with same-day results could improve follow-up rates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Antibodies / blood*
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis*
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • HIV-1 / immunology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Risk-Taking
  • Substance Abuse Treatment Centers
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / complications*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • HIV Antibodies