Study: HIV reporting does not reduce number of tests given
A study in the March 18 issue of the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association shows that mandatory reporting of new HIV cases to health authorities does not reduce the number of HIV antibody tests administered to the public. Canadian researchers studied data on the number of HIV tests administered in Alberta between January 1, 1993, and December 31, 2000, and also examined data collected through the national prenatal HIV testing program. Mandatory HIV reporting began in May 1998 in Alberta. The researchers found that the average annual increase in HIV tests given to men before HIV reporting was about 4% per year and that test use actually rose by 4.3% per year after reporting became mandatory. Among women, use of the tests continued to rise after May 1998, but at smaller annual percentages than before reporting became mandatory. At no point after mandatory HIV reporting took effect did demand for the tests fall below previous years' levels.