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Stigma Remains a Significant Barrier to Routine HIV Testing by African-American Physicians, Survey Finds
Date:8/1/2011

s are concerned that patients may perceive the recommendation to test as accusatory or judgmental (57 percent); would not want to be identified as HIV positive and would worry about people finding out (48 percent); and would be offended due to the stigma associated with HIV (43 percent). Competing priorities and lack of time with patients were each cited by 45 percent of physicians as reasons why they do not routinely test.

Risky Behaviors Tend to Prompt Testing Recommendation

Physicians surveyed estimate that 70 percent of patients tested in the past year did so because of  the physician's recommendation. Yet, the physicians surveyed tend to take a risk-based testing approach, recommending HIV testing for individuals based on perceived high-risk behaviors, including multiple sex partners (89 percent), injection drug use (85 percent), suspected commercial sex work (77 percent), homosexuality (77 percent) and previous incarceration (70 percent).  For the majority (86 percent), it is easiest to raise HIV testing with patients who are perceived to be at risk.  

Variance in Testing Based on Physician Demographics

Thirty-six percent of all physicians surveyed were categorized as "high testers," routinely testing more than 25 percent of their patients for HIV. These physicians tend to test routinely for all sexually active patients, be younger (under 40), female, and are more likely to be specializing in obstetrics and gynecology.

Physician Recommendations to Drive More Routine HIV Testing

The physicians surveyed proposed solutions to help increase routine testing in the primary care setting. These include patient-focused communication stressing the importance of getting tested, such as in-office posters and brochures (52 percent) and increased media attention (51 percent). Additional suggested resources included more training on testing (44 percent) and the availability of accurate in-office p
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SOURCE Janssen Therapeutics
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