Rapid HIV testing experience at Veterans Affairs North Texas Health Care System's Homeless Stand Downs

Dina Hooshyar, Alina M Suris, Maggie Czarnogorski, James LePage, Roger J Bedimo, Carol S North

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In the USA, 21% of the estimated 1.1 million people living with human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) are unaware they are HIV-infected. In 2011, Veterans Health Administration (VHA)'s Office of Public Health in conjunction with VHA's Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program funded grants to support rapid HIV testing at homeless outreach events because homeless populations are more likely to obtain emergent rather than preventive care and have a higher HIV seroprevalence as compared to the general population. Because of a Veterans Affairs North Texas Health Care System (VANTHCS)'s laboratory testing requirement, VANTHCS partnered with community agencies to offer rapid HIV testing for the first time at VANTHCS' 2011 Homeless Stand Downs in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Texoma, Texas. Homeless Stand Downs are outreach events that connect Veterans with services. Veterans who declined testing were asked their reasons for declining. Comparisons by Homeless Stand Down site used Pearson χ2, substituting Fisher's Exact tests for expected cell sizes <5. Of the 910 Veterans attending the Homeless Stand Downs, 261 Veterans reported reasons for declining HIV testing, and 133 Veterans were tested, where 92% of the tested Veterans obtained their test results at the events - all tested negative. Veterans' reported reasons for declining HIV testing included previous negative result (n=168), no time to test (n=49), no risk factors (n=36), testing is not a priority (n=11), uninterested in knowing serostatus (n=6), and HIV-infected (n=3). Only "no time to test" differed significantly by Homeless Stand Down site. Nonresponse rate was 54%. Offering rapid HIV testing at Homeless Stand Downs is a promising testing venue since 15% of Veterans attending VANTHCS' Homeless Stand Downs were tested for HIV, and majority obtained their HIV test results at point-of-care while further research is needed to determine how to improve these rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-99
Number of pages5
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2014


  • HIV
  • Veterans
  • community outreach
  • homeless persons
  • screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Social Psychology


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