A trend analysis of HIV testing rates and locations by race/ethnicity  (2016)


Project Sponsor(s)

  • Office of the Vice President for Research
  • The University of Texas at Austin

Project Categories

Data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) 2001–2014

This study will examine the trends of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing and locations by race/ethnicity across thirteen years. As of 2010, slightly more than 1.2 million people in the United States were living with human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), and 1 in 5 of them were unaware of their HIV-positive status.  HIV testing is an important component of HIV prevention: behavioral risk reduction has been found to be associated with individuals knowing their HIV-positive status. Greater testing may also increase earlier detection of infection, which is important for preventing further transmission by reducing risky sexual behaviors as well as reducing the viral load (through anti-retroviral therapy), which can limit the disease’s progression. Few studies have examined testing locations according to race.

Although research has been conducted concerning HIV testing rates in the United States, it is important to examine whether testing rates are changing over time, and whether these trends differ among the predominant racial/ethnic groups affected by the HIV epidemic. Furthermore, it is important to recognize that each racial/ethnic group is not homogenous, which prompts an examination of factors within each racial/ethnic group that prior research has associated with differential testing rates (within the broadly defined racial/ethnic categories). In addition, few studies have examined the testing venues and locations over time according to race and/or ethnicity.

This is a retrospective study that will examine and analyze 13 years of data from 2001 to 2014 of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). The two outcome measurements of interest will be rates of HIV testing and testing location according to race/ethnicity. These findings can be particularly helpful in targeting at risk populations for testing efforts. Understanding the relationship between sociodemographic characteristics will allow HIV/AIDS prevention project planners to develop targeted, culturally and contextually relevant HIV interventions. The significance of this analysis will highlight trends in HIV testing rates, especially as they relate to informing HIV/AIDS prevention efforts.