Purpose: To assess youths' attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors regarding rapid HIV testing (RHT) and measure acceptability and feasibility of RHT in an adolescent clinic setting.
Methods: A 2007-2008 project introduced free RHT at an urban, hospital-based adolescent and young adult clinic in Boston, MA. Patients and HIV testing clients were offered either free nonrapid tests or fingerstick RHT. An anonymous questionnaire assessed youths' testing attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors (N = 127). Ordinal logistic regression model was used to determine associations with youth demographic characteristics and testing experience.
Results: Most participants valued rapid results. A minority desired confidentiality from parents and insurance providers. Older youth were more likely to know about testing methods (OR: 1.25; CI: 1.04-1.51) and plan for follow-up (OR: 1.43; CI: 1.14-1.81). Age, gender, and race were unrelated to testing facilitators such as rapidity, confidentiality, and cost, although younger clients were more likely to prefer noninvasive methods. Individuals with previous testing experience were more likely to say that they would contribute to expenses and value rapidity over cost.
Conclusion: There was strong support for RHT among youth receiving HIV testing. Offering RHT to youth may facilitate routine testing. Future research should focus on increasing RHT access among diverse populations of youth.
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