Accuracy and determinants of perceived HIV risk among young women in South Africa
Because reliance on patients' self-perceived risk for HIV might mislead emergency department (ED) clinicians on the need for HIV testing, we aimed to measure congruency between self-perceived and reported HIV risk in a traditional lower prevalence, lower-risk cohort. A random sample of 18- to 64-year-old patients at a large academic urban ED who were by self-report not men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM) or injection-drug users (IDUs) were surveyed regarding their self-perceived and reported HIV risk. Sixty-two percent of participants were white non-Hispanic, 13.8% Black, and 21.2% Hispanic; and 66.9% previously had been tested for HIV. Linear regression models were constructed comparing self-perceived to reported HIV risk. Among the 329 female ED patients, 50.5% perceived that they were "not at risk" for HIV, yet only 10.9% reported no HIV risk behaviors, while among the 175 male ED patients, 50.9% perceived that they were "not at risk" for HIV, yet only 12.6% reported no HIV risk behaviors. Only 16.9% of women and 15.7% of men who had no self-perceived risk for HIV also reported no HIV risk behaviors. Multivariable linear regression demonstrated a weak relationship between self-perceived and reported risk. Congruency between self-perceived risk and reported HIV risk was low among these non-MSM, non-IDU ED patients.