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Low HIV testing among persons who inject drugs—National HIV Behavioral Surveillance, 20 U.S. cities, 2012✩
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  • Alternative Title:
    Drug Alcohol Depend
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    Persons who inject drugs (PWID) continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV. HIV testing is key to reducing HIV transmission by increasing awareness of HIV status and linking HIV-positive persons to care. Using data from PWID participating in CDC’s National HIV Behavioral Surveillance (NHBS) system, we examined prevalence of recent HIV testing among PWID by certain characteristics to guide interventions to increase HIV testing.


    We analyzed NHBS data from PWID 18 years or older recruited via respondent-driven sampling in 20 US cities in 2012. We examined demographic and behavioral factors associated with recent HIV testing (within 12 months before interview) using a Poisson model to calculate adjusted prevalence ratios (aPRs).


    Of 9555 PWID, 53% had recently tested for HIV. In multivariable analysis, HIV testing was more frequent among participants who visited a healthcare provider (aPR 1.50, P < 0.001), participated in alcohol or drug treatment (aPR 1.21, P < 0.001), or received an HIV prevention intervention (aPR 1.26, P < 0.001). HIV testing was also more frequent among participants who received free sterile syringes (aPR 1.12, P < 0.001).


    Only half of PWID participating in NHBS in 2012 reported recent HIV testing. HIV testing was more frequent among participants who accessed health and HIV prevention services. To increase HIV testing among PWID, it is important for providers in healthcare and HIV prevention settings to proactively assess risk factors for HIV, including injection drug use, and offer a wide range of appropriate interventions, such as HIV testing.

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