Objective. Residential drug treatment units are uniquely situated to provide HIV testing and counseling to their patients. This article examines the extent to which residential drug treatment units in the United States provide HIV testing on-site, and identifies organizational and institutional characteristics that differentiate units in which on-site HIV testing is available from those in which it is not. Methods. The analyses use data collected in telephone interviews with unit managers from a random nationwide sample (N=138) of residential drug treatment units in 2001. Results. About half (48.6%) of the residential drug treatment units made HIV testing available to their patients on-site. Residential units were significantly more likely to make on-site testing available if they were larger (i.e., had a greater number of patients treated each month or had a greater number of staff that provided direct patient services) and if they were publicly rather than privately owned. Provision of on-site HIV testing was significantly correlated with having a medical orientation, i.e., with being operated by a hospital, with the unit viewing itself as patients' primary medical provider, or with providing medical care to the patients either on-site or at another part of the same treatment agency. Conclusion. In view of the critical importance of HIV testing for individuals who use illicit drugs and the existence of a simplified testing protocol involving saliva samples (eliminating the need for phlebotomy), units that do not have a medical orientation should be encouraged to make HIV testing available on-site.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health