Automated Substance Use/Sexual Risk Reporting and HIV Test Acceptance Among Emergency Department Patients Aged 13–24 Years

Ian David Aronson, Jingru Zhang, Sonali Rajan, Lisa A. Marsch, Mona Bugaighis, Mobolaji O. Ibitoye, Lauren S. Chernick, Don C. Des Jarlais

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite federal guidelines, many adolescents and emerging adults are not offered HIV testing by their healthcare providers. As such, many—including those who may be at high-risk for contracting HIV given their sexual and/or substance use risk—are not routinely tested. The current study examines sexual risk and substance use among emergency department patients aged 13–24 years (n = 147), who completed an automated screening as part of a tablet-based intervention designed to increase HIV testing. Twenty seven percent (n = 39) of participants chose to test for HIV after completing the tablet-based intervention. Among this sample, sexual risk was a significant independent predictor of HIV testing (χ2 = 16.50, p < 0.001). Problem substance use (e.g. trying but failing to quit) also predicted testing (χ2 = 7.43, p < 0.01). When considering these behaviors together, analyses indicated that the effect of problem substance use (ß = 0.648, p = 0.154) on testing is explained by sexual risk behavior (ß = 1.425, p < 0.01). The study’s findings underscore the value of using routine automated risk screenings to collect sensitive data from emergency department patients, followed by computer-based HIV test offers for adolescent youth. Our research indicates tablet-based interventions can facilitate more accurate reporting of sexual behavior and substance use, and can also potentially increase HIV test uptake among those at risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1544-1551
Number of pages8
JournalAIDS and Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022


  • Adolescent
  • Emergency department
  • HIV
  • Sexual risk
  • Substance use
  • Youth
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Humans
  • Substance-Related Disorders/diagnosis
  • HIV Infections/diagnosis
  • HIV Testing
  • Risk-Taking
  • Adult

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Social Psychology


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