Objectives: We investigated the association between recent HIV testing and safer sex among clients of a publicly funded sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinic.
Methods: Of 401 men and women who were anonymously assessed on sexual risk, HIV testing, STD history, motivations for behavior change, and exposure to HIV prevention education, we studied 292 sexually active respondents who reported previous testing for HIV. Outcome measures included condom use at last intercourse and frequent (at least "most of the time") condom use during the past 3 months. Logistic regression was used to examine the association between each outcome and length of time since HIV testing, controlling for other putative predictors of condom use.
Results: The sample consisted mainly of African-American (79%) heterosexual (95%) men and women, almost half (44%) of whom were less than 26 years old. Regression analyses indicated that recent HIV testing was significantly associated with safer sex. Prevalence of condom use at last intercourse was highest among respondents who received an HIV test <3 months before the survey, whereas frequent condom use during the past 3 months peaked among clients who had been tested 3 to 5 months before assessment.
Conclusions: The occurrence of a brief "surge" in safer sex among recent HIV counseling and testing clients, regardless of serostatus, suggests that these individuals may be particularly amenable to additional interventions designed to achieve longer term reductions in risky behaviors.