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Many Heterosexual Adults Have Not Been Tested for HIV: 80% of untested feel they are not at risk
  Health & Medicine Week
December 22, 2003
A nationwide Witeck-Combs Communications/Harris Interactive study of 2,056 adults showed that six out of 10 (59 percent) heterosexual adults had never been tested for HIV. Of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (GLBT) adult respondents, who comprised 7 percent of the sample, 35 percent had not been tested. At a time when CDC reports HIV on the rise among US youth and young adults, two-thirds (67 percent) of those ages 18-24 said they had never had an HIV test. Fifty-eight percent of African Americans and 48 percent of Hispanics indicated they had been tested for HIV at least once, compared to 33 percent of white Americans.
Harris Interactive, a market research and consulting firm, conducted the study online Oct. 21-27, 2003, in conjunction with Witeck-Combs Communications, a strategic public relations and marketing firm.
One disturbing finding is that 8 out of 10 (80 percent) untested heterosexual adults said they had not been tested for HIV because they did not consider themselves at risk. This indicates more HIV/AIDS prevention education should be targeted to heterosexual Americans.
"We found that complacency about HIV risk continues to be widespread among all populations and demographics," said Darin Johnson, vice president at Witeck-Combs Communications.
"It is particularly alarming that 22 years into the AIDS epidemic, we are still faced with fundamental misunderstandings about HIV and AIDS," said Ana Oliveira, executive director of Gay Men's Health Crisis.
"The results of this survey are illustrative of the critical work that lies ahead for HIV/AIDS service organizations across the country," said Paul Kawata, executive director of the National Minority AIDS Council. "It's clear we need to increase our collective efforts to provide basic HIV/AIDS education for individuals and groups around stigma, at-risk behavior, testing and counseling services, and prevention."
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