Accessing HIV Testing Care

Published in: Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, v. 25, suppl. 215, Dec. 2000, p. S151-S156

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 1999

by Frank H. Galvan, Eric G Bing, Ricky N. Bluthenthal

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With the many recent improvements in the medical management of HIV, the benefits of early detection of the virus have increased. People found to be HIV-positive can be offered immediate referrals for medical care and a comprehensive continuum of services. However, it is estimated that, among the 650,000 to 900.000 seropositive persons in the United States, about one third are unaware of their serostatus. Many of those who are tested for HIV do not return for their results. Among those less likely to return for results are young people and black Americans. Many factors at the individual, system and societal levels negatively impact whether individuals at risk for HIV seek HIV testing in the first place, whether they return for their results, and whether they get appropriate care after they are found to be HIV-positive. Some solutions are offered to improve the identification of new HIV infections. These include social marketing campaigns to encourage individuals to be tested for HIV. Also, more use of the rapid HIV test, which will substantially increase the number of people obtaining their HIV results, is recommended. New computer technologies, such as telemedicine, also have the potential to improve linkages to care for newly diagnosed individuals. In addition, it is essential that HIV care continue to be readily available through the Ryan White Care Act.

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