Measuring HIV risk in the U.S. population aged 15-44: results from Cycle 6 of the National Survey of Family Growth

John E Anderson, William D Mosher, Anjani Chandra
Advance Data 2006 October 23, (377): 1-27

OBJECTIVE: This report presents national estimates of the percentage and number of persons in the U.S. population aged 15-44 who report behaviors that place them at increased risk for acquiring or transmitting human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV. The report also contains data on condom use and HIV testing by persons who report risk behaviors. In addition, estimates of self-reported risk for HIV from the Cycle 6 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) are compared with data from other recent national surveys.

METHODS: Data from the NSFG Cycle 6, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), are based on interviews with a national sample of the household population of the United States. In-person, face-to-face interviews were conducted in the homes of 12,571 males and females 15-44 years of age in 2002. Most of the data were collected by Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI), in which a laptop computer is used to select and present the questions, which an interviewer reads to the respondent. The more sensitive data, including the risk behavior items on which this report is based, were collected by Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interviewing (ACASI), in which the respondent listens to a recording of each question and enters his or her own answers into the computer without involving an interviewer.

RESULTS: Overall, 8.9 percent of persons 15-44 years of age had engaged in sexual behaviors in the past year that put them at increased risk of HIV, and 1.5 percent had engaged in drug use behaviors that put them at risk. In all, an estimated 9.9 percent engaged in either drug use or sexual behavior that placed them at increased risk for HIV. Including those who were treated for a sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the past year, 11.9 percent of persons 15-44 years of age--13.0 percent males and 10.8 percent of females+-were at risk of HIV in 2002. The 11.9 percent at risk is equivalent to an estimated 14.4 million persons aged 15-44 at higher risk of HIV through drug use, sexual behavior, or having been treated for an STD in the past year. Persons who were at increased risk reported greater condom use and higher rates of HIV testing, but among those at risk, 33.6 percent had never been tested for HIV and 60.4 percent did not use condoms at last sex.

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