Today, people aware of their human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status may be able to live longer and healthier lives because of newly available, effective treatments. Testing for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is essential so that infected individuals can seek appropriate care. HIV testing requires only a simple blood or saliva test, and it is often offered through confidential and/or anonymous sources.

As of 2003, almost 36 percent of U.S. adults had ever been tested for HIV. Of all adults, women between the ages of 25 and 34 were most likely to report ever being tested. Among the younger population, women were more likely to have been tested than men; however, among the older population the opposite was true. Older men were more likely to have been tested than their female counterparts.

In 2003, there were racial and ethnic differences in testing rates among women. Non-Hispanic Black women had the highest rate of HIV testing (54.4 percent), followed by Hispanic women (46.7 percent); Asian women and non-Hispanic White women had the lowest rates of testing (34.0 and 33.9 percent, respectively).

Graph: Adults Who Have Ever Been Tested for HIV by Age and Sex[d]

Graph: Women Who Have Ever Been Tested for HIV by Race/Ethnicity[d]