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Early, routine testing for HIV is key to curbing the disease among teens
Date:11/12/2007

Half of all new HIV infections in the United States occur among 13 to 24 year olds, but adolescents rarely seek HIV testing. Now, new research from the Bradley Hasbro Childrens Research Center suggests that early and widespread testing both in schools and community centers may be the key to effectively curbing the spread of HIV within this age group.

This study, which will be published in the December issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health and is currently available online, is the first to take a prospective look at the factors associated with HIV testing among adolescents.

Our goal was to determine why some high-risk teens would get tested for HIV, and others would not, explained lead author Marina Tolou-Shams, Ph.D., of the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center and an assistant research professor of psychiatry with The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Researchers assessed the sexual behavior, substance use and HIV testing behaviors of 1,222 sexually active adolescents, ages 15 to 21, from Providence, Miami, and Atlanta over three months. They found that teens were more likely to get tested for HIV if theyve already been tested before. In fact, approximately half of all study subjects had a history of HIV testing, and of those, one-third got tested within three months even without having gone through a specific HIV testing intervention.

These findings were a bit surprising, since we thought teens would be more likely to get an HIV test if they engaged in risky behaviors, such as substance use during sex, or attended an HIV prevention workshop, said senior author Larry K. Brown, M.D., of the Bradley Hasbro Childrens Research Center and a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Alpert Medical School. Given that a history of HIV testing appears to be a major motivator for adolescents to get tested in the future, a widespread HIV testing approach could help control the spread of this dis
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Contact: Jessica Grimes
jgrimes2@lifespan.org
401-432-1328
Lifespan
Source:Eurekalert

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