Health Services Utilization

HIV Testing

Today, people aware of their human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status may be able to live longer and healthier lives because of newly available, effective treatments. Testing for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is essential so that infected individuals can seek appropriate care. HIV testing requires only a simple blood or saliva test, and it is often offered through confidential or anonymous sources. It is recommended that people who meet any of the following criteria be tested for HIV: have injected drugs or steroids, or shared equipment (such as needles) with others; have had unprotected sex with men who have sex with men, anonymous partners, or multiple partners; have exchanged sex for drugs or money; have been diagnosed with hepatitis, tuberculosis, or a sexually transmitted infection; received a blood transfusion between 1978 and 1985; or have had unprotected sex with anyone who meets any of the previous criteria.1

In 2004, almost 35 percent of adults in the United States had ever been tested for HIV. Overall, women were more likely than men to have been tested (37.3 versus 31.7 percent). Women were more likely to have been tested at younger ages, while men were more likely to have been tested at older ages. Among women, non-Hispanic Blacks had the highest testing rate (52.4 percent), followed by Hispanic women (45.4 percent). Asian women had the lowest testing rates (33.3 percent).

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National HIV Testing Resources. Frequently asked questions about HIV and HIV testing.

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Women's Health USA 2006 is not copyrighted. Readers are free to duplicate and use all or part of the information contained on this page. Suggested Citation: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Women's Health USA 2006. Rockville, Maryland: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2006.