Objective: To determine the rates of HIV testing among people who had received positive test results for chlamydia, gonorrhoea and trichomoniasis, or who had been tested for syphilis.
Design, setting and participants: Pathology data for the period January 2010 – December 2014 from 65 remote Aboriginal communities participating in the STRIVE trial of sexually transmissible infection (STI) control were analysed.
Main outcome measures: Rates of HIV testing within 30 and 90 days of an STI test (for chlamydia, gonorrhoea or trichomoniasis), the result of which was positive, and within 30 days of a test for syphilis; factors independently associated with concurrent HIV testing.
Results: 31.8% of 15 260 positive STI test results were linked with an HIV test within 30 days of the test (including 5.6% not on the same day), and 34.8% within 90 days; 44.1% were linked with syphilis testing within 30 days. 53.4% of all those tested for syphilis were also tested for HIV within 30 days. Multivariate analysis found that HIV testing was more likely for men, in geographical regions 3 and 4, in association with positive STI test results during 2012, 2013 or 2014 (v 2010), and in association with positive test results for gonorrhoea or chlamydia. Similar associations with these factors were found for syphilis testing.
Conclusions: A significant challenge in Aboriginal health is avoiding an increase in the number of HIV infections. One critical intervention in this regard is timely and appropriate testing. Adhering to screening recommendations is clearly an aspect of the delivery of sexual health services to remote communities that can be improved in striving to achieve this aim.
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