HIV risk assessment of women, 18-64 years old, in the emergency department

Rica Mauricio Buchanan, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Testing for HIV has traditionally been through an opt-in methodology. However, in 2006, the CDC radically changed the way physicians employ HIV testing and recommended an opt-in test approach. That is, HIV testing should be done for all patients in all healthcare settings unless the patient explicitly refuses the test. The hope is that opt-out testing will better identify undiagnosed HIV-positive individuals who are responsible for more than half of new infections. One theory is that these undiagnosed individuals do not think themselves to be at risk, do not get tested, and subsequently pass on the infection. The objective of this study is to determine the HIV risk behavior among Hispanic women ages 18-64; a group that is not typically thought to be at high risk for HIV infection. We used a cross-sectional survey tool in an urban, academic, Level 1 emergency department. Of the 88 women interviewed for this study we found that the only independent predictor of HIV risk behavior was a single status (p = 0.047). We concluded that this study helps validate the applicability of opt-out testing as we found that individuals who would not have been identified through opt-in methodology practicing sexual behaviors that increase the risk of HIV. Moreover, this study also helps support the idea that there may be a role for community tailored HIV risk assessments in emergency departments that do not offer either an opt-in or opt-out HIV testing protocol.

Subject Area

Social research|Medicine|Public health

Recommended Citation

Buchanan, Rica Mauricio, "HIV risk assessment of women, 18-64 years old, in the emergency department" (2015). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1598103.