Opt-Out HIV Testing of Inmates in North Carolina Prisons: Factors Associated with not Wanting a Test and not Knowing They Were Tested

AIDS Behav. 2016 Apr;20(4):859-69. doi: 10.1007/s10461-015-1203-y.


Opt-out HIV testing is recommended for correctional settings but may occur without inmates' knowledge or against their wishes. Through surveying inmates receiving opt-out testing in a large prison system, we estimated the proportion unaware of being tested or not wanting a test, and associations [prevalence ratios (PRs)] with inmate characteristics. Of 871 tested, 11.8 % were unknowingly tested and 10.8 % had unwanted tests. Not attending an educational HIV course [PR = 2.34, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.47-3.74], lower HIV knowledge (PR = 0.95, 95 % CI 0.91-0.98), and thinking testing is not mandatory (PR = 9.84, 95 % CI 4.93-19.67) were associated with unawareness of testing. No prior incarcerations (PR = 1.59, 95 % CI 1.03-2.46) and not using crack/cocaine recently (PR = 2.37, 95 % CI 1.21-4.64) were associated with unwanted testing. Residence at specific facilities was associated with both outcomes. Increased assessment of inmate understanding and enhanced implementation are needed to ensure inmates receive full benefits of opt-out testing: being informed and tested according to their wishes.

Keywords: HIV testing; Informed consent; Opt-out testing; Prison; Prisoners.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • HIV Infections / diagnosis*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent*
  • Mandatory Testing*
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • North Carolina
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Prevalence
  • Prisoners*
  • Prisons
  • Refusal to Participate*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Voluntary Programs