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September 8, 1989

Intravenous Drug Users and Human Immunodeficiency Virus Testing and Counseling

Author Affiliations

The New York (NY) Hospital—Cornell Medical Center

The New York (NY) Hospital—Cornell Medical Center

JAMA. 1989;262(10):1331-1332. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430100065028

To the Editor.—  Curtis et al1 recently reported in The Journal that 21% of intravenous (IV) drug users in their methadone maintenance program had, usually unbeknownst to staff, sought human immunodeficiency virus serological testing at other sites. The article raises the question whether, in the service of coordinating care, the testing site should share results with drug rehabilitation counselors. Based on our experience, we think not. We have two reasonsFirst, IV drug users are unlikely to seek testing if they fear strict confidentiality will not be maintained.2 For more than 2 years in our ongoing federally funded study of psychobehavioral responses to human immunodeficiency virus testing at The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, we have extensively evaluated and followed up 49 IV drug users. Compared with the 315 subjects with other risk factors, the IV drug users have been at least as concerned about notification of third