Physicians are missing key opportunities to test young men for HIV, Time reports. Publishing their findings in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researchers conducted an analysis of 2009 to 2012 data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) and U.S. Census data to estimate rates of visits to U.S. physicians’ offices and HIV testing during those visits among males 15 to 39 years old.
During this period, males in this age range made an average of 1.4 visits to physicians’ offices. White males made an average of 1.6 visits, while black males made an average of 0.9 visits and Latino males made an average of 0.8 visits. Broken down by age brackets, there were 1.6, 1.0 and 1.8 visits among males 15 to 19, 20 to 24 and 35 to 39 years old, respectively. Annual visit rates were lower across age groups among blacks and Latinos compared with whites.
A total of 674,001 of these visits (1 percent) included an HIV test. Compared with white males, who reported an HIV test at 0.7 percent of visits, black men reported testing at 2.7 percent of visits and Latino men reported testing at 1.4 percent of visits. This made HIV testing 3.8 times more common among blacks and two times more common among Latinos at their visits compared with whites at their visits. However, according to the report, the higher rate of testing among nonwhite men “is likely attenuated by a lower rate of health care visits.”
Men 35 to 39 and 15 to 19 years old were tested at an average of 0.6 percent of visits for each age bracket. Compared with that rate, males 20 to 24, who were tested at 1.7 percent of visits, were three times more likely to be tested at visits, and males 25 to 29 years old, who were tested at 1.8 percent of visits, were 3.1 times more likely to receive testing at visits.
“Reasons why providers might not be conducting routine HIV testing include lack of knowledge of national testing recommendations, belief that their patients are not at risk, and belief that HIV testing is the responsibility of other health care professionals in different settings,” the authors write.
To read the Time article, click here.
To read the CDC report, click here.