Acceptance of Routine HIV Testing by Hospitalized Adolescents and Young Adults

Hosp Pediatr. 2018 Apr;8(4):187-193. doi: 10.1542/hpeds.2017-0194.


Background and objectives: Youth carry a disproportionate burden of new HIV infections. With our study, we aimed to characterize HIV testing experiences among adolescents and young adults admitted to a children's hospital that is located in a high HIV-prevalent community and implemented routine HIV testing for all patients ≥13 years of age.

Methods: A total of 120 patients aged 13 to 24 years old who were admitted to our hospital and had a documented offer of routine HIV testing on admission were invited to complete a self-administered survey that asked about sex, race and/or ethnicity, HIV risk behaviors, and attitudes toward routine HIV testing in the hospital. Date of birth, admission diagnosis, and verification of HIV testing and results were collected by chart review.

Results: Study participants (N = 99) were 17.4 ± 2.3 years old, 52% female, 47% Hispanic, and 29% African American. Additional characteristics include the following: 65% had previous sexual activity, 11% had a history of sexually transmitted infections, and 12% were worried about their risk for HIV. Forty-seven percent of participants accepted HIV testing, with older patients (P < .01) and those reporting previous sexual activity (P < .01) and a previous HIV test (P < .01) being more likely to accept testing. A total of 96% of participants agreed that the hospital is a good place to offer HIV testing.

Conclusions: Our findings support offering routine HIV testing to youth admitted to children's hospital. Given the high incidence of new and undiagnosed HIV infections among youth, additional venues for HIV testing are essential.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent, Hospitalized / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis*
  • HIV Infections / physiopathology
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult