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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.

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Acknowledgements

This research was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Cooperative Agreement UR3/CCU316432. The authors would like to acknowledge the collaboration of Mr. Michael Iatesta and researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Miami in the development of the study design and survey instrument

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Correspondence to Jennifer L. Lauby.

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Lauby, J.L., Bond, L., Eroğlu, D. et al. Decisional Balance, Perceived Risk and HIV Testing Practices. AIDS Behav 10, 83–92 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10461-005-9029-7

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