HIV/AIDS: Prevalence Lower Among At-Home-Testers in San Francisco
HIV prevalence is lower among San Franciscans who use home HIV tests than among those tested anonymously at public sites, according to a study published in the current Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. Nonetheless, the home tests seem to reach "some high-risk persons who may not otherwise seek (publicly funded) testing," said researchers at the San Francisco Department of Public Health in California. Lead researcher Dr. Mitchell Katz said that between August 1996 and December 1997, fewer HIV tests were conducted in homes (715) than at publicly funded clinics (8,712). HIV prevalence among home testers was 0.9%, compared with 1.8% among those tested at public clinics, and home testers were more likely to report having sex with an HIV-positive partner and more likely to "live in an affluent neighborhood," but were "less likely to be gay men, lesbian or bisexual women, heterosexual women, African American or Latino." The authors conclude that the availability of home testing, particularly for those who fear privacy breaches, may save "public prevention resources for hard-to-reach, high-risk populations" (Reuters Health, 8/20).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.