, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 83-92
Date: 02 Dec 2005

Decisional Balance, Perceived Risk and HIV Testing Practices

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Improving our understanding of how individuals decide to take an HIV test is essential for designing effective programs to increase testing. This paper assesses the relationship of decisional balance and perceived risk to HIV testing history in a cross-sectional community sample of 1523 HIV-negative men and women at risk due to drug use or sexual behavior. We developed scales to measure perceived advantages (pros) and perceived disadvantages (cons) of taking an HIV test and assessed their content using factor analysis. Perceived risk was highly related to the pros and cons scales. Multivariate analyses revealed that the pros scale had positive associations with having ever tested and the number of tests taken, while the cons scale had negative associations with these testing measures. Perceived risk was not related to testing practices. These results suggest that interventions to increase HIV testing need to address anticipated positive and negative outcomes of getting tested.