According to a new study published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease, only 41% of cancer survivors in the United States under the age of 65 reported ever having a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) test. Patients are typically tested for HIV when they are diagnosed with cancer or their cancer recurs in order to better coordinate cancer and HIV treatment and improve patient outcomes.
Until now, there has been no published data surrounding the proportion of cancer survivors in the United States who are tested for HIV. For the study, researchers analyzed data from the 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to determine who had been tested for HIV and to identify factors associated with having had HIV testing.
Of the 41% of cancer survivors who had been tested, 72.2% were aged 25 to 34 years, 59.5% were non-Hispanic blacks, and 51.2% were cervical cancer survivors.
The highest proportion of cancer survivors tested for HIV were from Washington, D.C., and the lowest proportion were from Nebraska. Analyses showed cancer survivors were more likely to be tested for HIV if they were non-Hispanic black or Hispanic, younger, educated, not married or living with a partner, not disabled, and concerned about medical costs. Females, but not males, were more likely to be tested if they had an autoimmunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-defining illness.
Knowing the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) serostatus of patients at the time of cancer diagnosis or cancer recurrence is prerequisite to coordinating HIV and cancer treatments and improving treatment outcomes.