HSR&D Citation Abstract
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HIV screening among substance-abusing veterans in care.
Dookeran NM, Burgess JF, Bowman CC, Goetz MB, Asch SM, Gifford AL. HIV screening among substance-abusing veterans in care. Journal of substance abuse treatment. 2009 Oct 1; 37(3):286-91.
Calls for screening for HIV infection among individuals with substance use disorders, including alcohol use, are increasing. We investigated HIV screening and its predictors in the Veterans Health Administration (VA) system among such individuals in care. Our primary outcome was retrospective evidence of screening for HIV infection, adjusting for patient demographics and important comorbid disease. Of the 371,749 sample patients with histories of substance use disorders using VA services, 20% had evidence of HIV screening. Screening was lowest among those with alcohol use disorders alone (11%) and highest among those treated in substance use programs (28%) or receiving inpatient care (28%). The findings suggest a low recognition of substance use disorders (especially alcohol use) as risk factors for HIV. Quality improvement initiatives to increase risk factor recognition and screening among patients with substance use disorders will yield benefits in the fight against HIV.