Background: The New York State HIV testing law requires that patients aged 13-64 years be offered HIV testing in health care settings. We investigated the extent to which HIV testing was offered and accepted during the 24 months after law enactment.
Methods: We added local questions to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) and the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance (NHBS) surveys asking respondents aged 18-64 years whether they were offered an HIV test in health care settings, and whether they had accepted testing. Statewide prevalence estimates of test offers and acceptance were obtained from a combined 2011-2012 BRFSS sample (N = 6,223). Local estimates for 2 high-risk populations were obtained from NHBS 2011 men who have sex with men (N = 329) and 2012 injection drug users (N = 188) samples.
Results: BRFSS data showed that 73% of New Yorkers received care in any health care setting in the past 12 months, of whom 25% were offered an HIV test. Sixty percent accepted the test when offered. The levels of test offer increased from 20% to 29% over time, whereas acceptance levels decreased from 68% to 53%. NHBS data showed that 81% of men who have sex with men received care, of whom 43% were offered an HIV test. Eighty-eight percent accepted the test when offered. Eighty-five percent of injection drug users received care, of whom 63% were offered an HIV test, and 63% accepted the test when offered.
Conclusions: We found evidence of partial and increasing implementation of the HIV testing law. Importantly, these studies demonstrated New Yorkers' willingness to accept an offered HIV test as part of routine care in health care settings.