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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
HIV Risk Behavior and HIV Testing: A Comparison of Rates and Associated Factors Among Homeless and Runaway Adolescents in Two Cities
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This study examined differences in self-reported rates and predictors of HIV testing between homeless and runaway youths in San Diego (N = 1,102) and Los Angeles (N = 1,167). Youths aged 13–23 were recruited from agency and street sites using a stratified probability sampling design. Interviewers administered a structured survey instrument lasting 20 minutes, which assessed youths' involvement in HIV risk-related sexual and drug-use behaviors, contact with outreach workers, and other variables. Significantly more Los Angeles youths (78%) reported testing than did San Diego youths (52%; p < .001). Multivariable analyses controlling for risk behaviors, knowing someone with HIV, and contact with outreach workers indicated that the higher rates of these factors in Los Angeles did not account for the difference in testing rates between the cities. Youths in Los Angeles were still 1.85 times as likely to be tested as San Diego youths (p < .001), possibly a result of differing normative behavior and accessibility of testing services. (Authors)