Background: Adolescents and young adults comprise disproportionately high percentages of individuals living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and those with undiagnosed HIV. Our objective was to determine factors associated with history of HIV testing and receipt of results among a sample of urban, high-risk, sexually active adolescents in 15 US cities.
Methods: A total of 20 to 30 sexually active youths, aged 12 to 24 years, were recruited to participate in an anonymous survey and HIV antibody testing at 2 to 3 venues per city identified by young men who have sex with men, young women of color, or intravenous drug users.
Results: Of the 1457 participants, 72% reported having been previously tested for HIV (89% of whom were aware of their test results). Our sample was diverse in terms of gender, race/ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Factors found to be predictive of testing typically reflect high risk for HIV, except for some high-risk partner characteristics, including having had a partner that made the youth have sex without a condom or had a partner with unknown HIV status. Factors associated with knowledge of serostatus are reported. HIV testing seems to be more associated with sexually transmitted infection testing services than with primary care.
Conclusions: More strategies are needed that increase testing, including targeting partners of high-risk individuals, insuring receipt of test results, and increasing testing in primary care settings.