182476 HIV risk assessment practices of primary care physicians: Results from a national survey

Monday, October 27, 2008

Patrick M. High, Dr PH , Westat, Rockville, MD
Deborah G. Girasek, MPH, PhD , Preventive Medicine and Biometrics, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD
Background: Numerous Federal agencies and professional societies have recommended that physicians assess their patients' risk for HIV infection. It has been more than a decade; however, since any reports on physician risk assessment practices have been published. The purpose of this study was to close that information gap. Methods: A survey was mailed to a national, random sample of 1400 practicing primary care (i.e., family practice, internal medicine, pediatric medicine and obstetrician-gynecologist) physicians. Results: Among the 649 physicians who returned completed questionnaires (49% of those receiving surveys), 498 met our inclusion criteria. A majority of respondents reported they did not ask patients “often” or “always” about six of the eight risk practices under study. Physicians were most likely to ask about STD history (57%) and least likely to ask about specific sexual practices (12%). The mean HIV risk assessment compliance among physicians ranged from “rarely” to “sometimes” regardless of the risk practice in question. Conclusion: Primary care physicians are not following recommended practice guidelines for HIV risk assessment. This suggests that they are missing opportunities to test and counsel patients, and reduce disease transmission.

Learning Objectives:
To describe primary care physicians risk assessment practices. To assess primary care physicians risk assessment practices.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Primary Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the primary author who conceived and conducted the research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Special Topics in HIV-Related Care
See more of: HIV/AIDS