A report released to mark World AIDS Day on December 1 shows that most gay men and lesbians have been tested for HIV antibodies, with only about 35% unaware of their HIV serostatus. Nearly 60% of heterosexuals haven't been tested for HIV infection, according to the report, with about two thirds of white heterosexuals never having been screened for the disease. Of heterosexuals who haven't been screened for HIV infection, 80% said the reason they hadn't been tested was because they did not perceive themselves to be at risk for sexually transmitted diseases. More than two thirds of young adults ages 18 to 24 have not been tested.
The figures come from a study prepared by Witeck-Combs Communications/Harris Interactive, which surveyed 2,056 adults around the country. About 7% of the survey respondents identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered. "The results of this survey are illustrative of the critical work that lies ahead for HIV/AIDS service organizations across the country," said Paul Kawata, executive director of the National Minority AIDS Council, in Washington, D.C. "The question for all of us is: Are our messages resonating with people who are at risk of infection? It's clear we need to increase our collective efforts to provide basic HIV/AIDS education for individuals and groups around stigma, at-risk behavior, testing and counseling services, and prevention."