Study Exposes Low Rate of HIV Testing for Latinos
More than half of Los Angeles County's primary care practitioners do not regularly advise their Latino patients to get tests for HIV, despite the high prevalence among the population, according to a UCLA AIDS Institute study released Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The study found that 41% of the 85 respondents had regularly offered advice about sexually transmitted infections during a six-month period in 2004. Respondents included physicians, nurses and physician assistants.
Survey respondents served communities with a population that is more than 50% Latino. More than half of the respondents primarily spoke Spanish with patients.
A "vast majority" of respondents offered fewer than 20 HIV tests each during the study, despite recommendations by CDC that physicians in areas with populations at high risk of contracting HIV offer testing to every patient, according to the Times.
Researchers said the lack of HIV testing contributes to most Latinos discovering they are HIV-positive less than one year before developing AIDS. The percentage of AIDS cases for Latinos in the county has risen from 20% of all new cases in the 1980s to 43% in 2002, according to the county Department of Public Health (Vara-Orta, Los Angeles Times, 3/2).