Objective: To evaluate the effects of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) antibody testing and education about HIV infection on communication about sexual risk behaviors for HIV transmission.
Design: Randomized, controlled trial with three arms.
Setting: University student health center.
Patients: Of 2196 heterosexual university students attending the student health clinic for medical care, 435 were interested in education about HIV and HIV testing and were randomly assigned to three groups. Follow-up at 6 months was done in 370 subjects (85%): 90 control subjects, 144 subjects who received education alone, and 136 subjects who received education plus HIV testing.
Measurements and results: Subjects who received HIV testing plus education questioned sexual partners about their HIV status more than subjects receiving education alone or those in the control group (56%, 42%, and 41% of subjects, respectively; P = 0.01). No consistent differences among groups in the number of sexual partners or in the use of condoms were found at follow-up.
Conclusions: Heterosexual university students who received education about HIV infection plus HIV testing had increased communication with sexual partners about the risk for HIV infection after 6 months. Further reduction in risk behaviors for HIV transmission may require additional interventions in this population.