The study’s aims were to describe rapid and conventional HIV testing practices and referrals/linkages to services posttest among homeless youth in New York City. We also examined variation among service-involved youth, street youth, and “nomads.” Respondent-driven sampling was used to recruit 217 homeless youth who participated in structured interviews. Almost all youth were tested in the past year (82%). Most received pretest/posttest counseling (> 77%). Rapid testing was common and conducted in diverse settings. However, youth reported that rates of referral/linkage to services posttest were low (< 44.4%). Service-involved youth were significantly more likely to receive rapid testing, be tested in the past year, and be tested at a high frequency. Street youth and nomads, those at highest risk for poor health outcomes, had less access to testing and may require creative, low-threshold services. Further, a better understanding of barriers to the use of referrals/linkages to services posttest is needed.
CDC HIV testing guidelines and the rapid and conventional testing practices of homeless youth