3:29pm

Thu March 14, 2013
Health and Welfare

Poll Shows Health-Care Providers Often Fail to Discuss HIV Testing

A new poll suggests that most Kentucky health-care providers follow guidelines for discussing HIV screening with their patients, despite the the importance of early treatment to prevent its progression to AIDS. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends routine HIV screenings for most patients, just 32 percent of Kentucky adults aged 18 to 64 report discussing HIV testing with their medical provider, according to the Kentucky Health Issues Poll.

About 40 percent of Kentucky adults reported they had never been tested for HIV. It’s estimated that 4,500 Kentuckians are living with HIV infection and it is estimated nationally that one in five people who have HIV do not know they do.

“It made headlines earlier this month when a little girl - the second person in history - was cured of HIV. As exciting as this development was, for most people, HIV remains a life-long condition that must be managed through medication to keep it from progressing to AIDS. The CDC’s recommendations are meant to improve the overall population health by detecting HIV so treatment can begin,” said Dr. Susan Zepeda, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, which co-sponsored the poll.

“It appears that Kentucky providers are either not adhering to the routine screening recommendations or not communicating this message clearly to patients,” she said.

The poll, co-sponsored by the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati, was taken Sept. 20 through Oct. 14 by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati. A random sample of 1,680 adults throughout Kentucky was interviewed by landline and cell telephones. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points