Deciding where and how to be tested for HIV: what matters most?

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2001 Jul 1;27(3):292-300. doi: 10.1097/00126334-200107010-00013.


This study examined preferences for specific types of HIV tests as well as for test attributes such as cost, counseling, and privacy. A survey was administered to 354 clients of public testing services. Nonparametric tests and logistic regression were used to compare test preferences and attribute ratings, and to assess differences by demographic and risk groups. Nearly two thirds of respondents chose a public clinic test as their first choice, whereas 24% chose a home self-test, 12% chose a test at a doctor's office, and 1% chose a home specimen-collection test. Three attributes (accuracy/timeliness, privacy of test disclosure, and linking of test results) were rated equally-and most-important. In-person counseling was endorsed as the fourth most important attribute. Availability of in-person counseling was the strongest predictor of "loyalty" to public clinic tests-a consistent preference for that type of test even when the other tests were offered as additional no-cost options. There was also substantial interest in home self-tests. The results suggest specific attributes of testing that may be particularly important to individuals from diverse demographic and risk backgrounds.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Serodiagnosis / economics
  • AIDS Serodiagnosis / methods*
  • AIDS Serodiagnosis / statistics & numerical data
  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Community Health Centers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Confidentiality
  • Counseling*
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • HIV Seropositivity / diagnosis*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Regression Analysis
  • San Francisco
  • Self Care
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Time Factors
  • Truth Disclosure


  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic