Background: This study characterized human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing and high-risk behavior among 18 to 22 year-old college students and nonstudents.
Methods: Data from 18 to 22 year-olds (n = 2007) in Cycle 6 of the National Survey of Family Growth, a nationally representative survey conducted between March 2002 and February 2003, were analyzed using univariate and multivariate methods.
Results: The estimated percentage of 18- to 22-year-olds ever tested for HIV excluding during blood donation was 34.2% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 31.6%-36.8%) and was less common among students than nonstudents after adjusting for age, gender, race/ethnicity, and marital status (adjusted OR [odds ratios]: 0.54; 95% CI: 0.40-0.73). The estimated percentage tested during the previous year was 18.1% (95% CI: 16.1%-20.1%), and there was no difference between students and nonstudents (adjusted OR: 0.76; 95% CI: 0.55-1.05). The estimated percentage of 18- to 22-year-olds reporting any high-risk HIV behavior was 37.5% (95% CI: 34.4%-40.5%). Of these, only 28.3% (95% CI: 24.5%-32.0%) had an HIV test within the year before the study, and this did not vary by student status (adjusted OR: 0.91; 95% CI: 0.62-1.35).
Conclusions: More than one-third of this young adult population reported high-risk HIV behavior. Of these, less than one-third was tested for HIV during the year before the study. These results indicate that enhanced HIV testing and prevention efforts are needed for students and nonstudents, and that HIV testing in this age group should be monitored over time.