50 Percent of Teenagers are Takers of Free HIV Testing

Free HIV testing offer possible prevention strategy

(RxWiki News) In an effort to pump up teenage HIV testing, The Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center offered free or low-cost HIV testing to teenagers. Government agencies recommend yearly HIV testing for all people from 13-64. Most people simply do not get tested for HIV, though.

According to the study's findings more than half of all adolescents accepted a free rapid HIV test immediately following an HIV risk assessment survey.

"Free HIV testing may be a viable prevention strategy for teenagers."

Lead author Rebecca Swenson, Ph.D., a child psychologist with the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center commented that  many adolescents are willing to know their HIV status.  

Policies supporting free or low-cost routine testing will ultimately help identify more cases of HIV among teens. She continued and summarized her study's findings suggest  widespread routine testing is a viable HIV prevention strategy, especially for teenagers. 

Swenson and her team were surprised to see that teens with only one partner were five times more likely to accept the test compared to the teens with more than one partner.

Swenson surmised this might be due to the monogamous couples considering using no condoms.

 The Study

  • 81 at-risk adolescents between the ages of 15-21
  • More than half of all participants were boys, while 34 percent were Latino and 25 percent were African-American
  • 53 percent of teens in the study accepted the free HIV test
  • African-American teens most likely to agree to testing at 75 percent
  • Latino youth least likely to agree to testing at 39 percent
Review Date: 
May 10, 2011