HIV Testing

High HIV Knowledge and Risky Sexual Behavior Not Associated with HIV Testing in Young Adolescents

Strongest Independent Predictors of Testing Include High HIV-related Partner Communication and Being in a Committed Relationship

November 20, 2013 – NEW YORK – Having high knowledge about HIV and engaging in risky sexual activity do not make high-school-aged teens more likely to get tested for HIV. Those are the findings of a new study by researchers at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. The study of nearly 1,000 Bronx, NY teens found those most likely to be tested for HIV had strong partner communication about HIV and were in committed relationships. This is the first-ever study to understand the role that partners play in HIV testing behavior of this patient population and was published in the November issue of the journal AIDS Patient Care and STDs.

Hina Talib, M.D., and a team of researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center, have found that having high knowledge about HIV and engaging in risky sexual activity did not make high school aged teens more likely to get tested for HIV.
Hina Talib, M.D.
“Despite efforts to educate about the risks of HIV and AIDS in schools, it is clear that more is needed to prompt adolescents to speak up and take the next step of getting tested,” said Hina J. Talib, M.D., adolescent medicine physician at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore and assistant professor of pediatrics at Einstein. “Early identification of HIV in adolescents is associated with earlier treatment and better health outcomes, so it is especially important that these sexually active high-school-aged adolescents be tested.”

“These findings highlight opportunities for healthcare providers to include a discussion of the partner’s testing status when counseling adolescents about HIV testing,” said Dr. Talib. “We should include partner communication modules when designing high impact interventions to encourage HIV testing for these minority adolescents who need it most.”

“Early identification of HIV in adolescents is associated with earlier treatment and better health outcomes, so it is especially important that these sexually active high-school-aged adolescents be tested.”

-- Hina Talib, M.D.

Participants were paid $25 for completing the survey and written parental permission was obtained. Funding for this study was provided by the National Institute of Mental Health (RO1MH070299) and National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01DAO19095), both parts of the National Institutes of Health.

This study was conducted in collaboration with Susan M. Coupey, M.D., chief, division of adolescent medicine, The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, professor of pediatrics, Einstein; Ellen Silver, Ph.D., associate professor of pediatrics at Einstein; and Laurie Bauman, Ph.D., director, Preventive Intervention Research Center and professor of pediatrics, Einstein.