OBJECTIVE - To describe human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing patterns among high-risk, uninfected adolescents and HIV-infected adolescents, and factors associated with testing.
METHODS - HIV-infected adolescents (N = 246) and high-risk, uninfected adolescents (N = 141) at 15 sites nationwide were asked about the number of times they were tested for HIV, the type of agency at which testing occurred, and reasons for testing.
RESULTS - The majority of participants reported being influenced to obtain testing by health care providers (53.1% of the HIV-infected group and 66.1% of the HIV-uninfected group, respectively). Female participants were somewhat more likely to have used a confidential or anonymous site for the most recent test, compared with male participants (73.5% and 67.5%, respectively). Among the HIV-infected group, feeling sick was the only factor associated with number of tests. Among the HIV-uninfected group, having more male partners, marijuana use in the past 3 months, white race, and having had same-gender partners in their lifetime (males only) were associated with number of tests. Multivariate analyses identified 2 significant models. Modeling the probability of having been tested 3 or more times, black participants were less likely to be tested than white participants (odds ratio [OR] = 0.4), and participants who felt sick were more likely to be tested than those who did not (OR = 1.7). Modeling the probability that the last test would be positive, black participants were more likely than white participants to test positive (OR = 2.3); those who were tested because they thought they might have gotten HIV from sex (OR = 3.0) or they felt sick (OR = 3.9) were more likely to test positive; participants who were tested because a health care professional recommended it were actually less likely (OR = 0.5) to test positive.
CONCLUSIONS - Overall, these findings highlight the importance of making HIV testing more routinely available to sexually active adolescents. More work needs to be done to normalize HIV testing among adolescents, and more innovative approaches need to be implemented on a wide scale.