Factors associated with refusal of rapid HIV testing in an emergency department

AIDS Behav. 2011 May;15(4):734-42. doi: 10.1007/s10461-010-9837-2.


HIV screening studies in the emergency department (ED) have demonstrated rates of HIV test refusal ranging from 40-67%. This study aimed to determine the factors associated with refusal to undergo routine rapid HIV testing in an academic ED in Boston. HIV counselors offered routine testing to 1,959 patients; almost one-third of patients (29%) refused. Data from a self-administered survey were used to determine independent correlates of HIV testing refusal. In multivariate analysis, women and patients with annual household incomes of $50,000 or more were more likely to refuse testing, as were those who reported not engaging in HIV risk behaviors, those previously HIV tested and those who did not perceive a need for testing. Enrollment during morning hours was also associated with an increased risk of refusal. Increased educational efforts to convey the rationale and benefits of universal screening may improve testing uptake among these groups.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Serodiagnosis*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Boston
  • Counseling
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening*
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Refusal / psychology
  • Treatment Refusal / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult