Written Informed-Consent Statutes and HIV Testing

Peter D. Ehrenkranz, José A. Pagán, Elizabeth M. Begier, Benjamin P. Linas, Kristin Madison, Katrina Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Almost 1 million Americans are infected with HIV, yet it is estimated that as many as 250,000 of them do not know their serostatus. This study examined whether people residing in states with statutes requiring written informed consent prior to HIV testing were less likely to report a recent HIV test. Methods: The study is based on survey data from the 2004 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Logistic regression was used to assess the association between residence in a state with a pre-test written informed-consent requirement and individual self-report of recent HIV testing. The regression analyses controlled for potential state- and individual-level confounders. Results: Almost 17% of respondents reported that they had been tested for HIV in the prior 12 months. Ten states had statutes requiring written informed consent prior to routine HIV testing; nine of those were analyzed in this study. After adjusting for other state- and individual-level factors, people who resided in these nine states were less likely to report a recent history of HIV testing (OR=0.85; 95% CI=0.80, 0.90). The average marginal effect was -0.02 (p<0.001, 95% CI=-0.03, -0.01); thus, written informed-consent statutes are associated with a 12% reduction in HIV testing from the baseline testing level of 17%. The association between a consent requirement and lack of testing was greatest among respondents who denied HIV risk factors, were non-Hispanic whites, or who had higher levels of education. Conclusions: This study's findings suggest that the removal of written informed-consent requirements might promote the non-risk-based routine-testing approach that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advocates in its new testing guidelines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-63
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of preventive medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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