Strategies to increase HIV testing in rural areas of the United States: A Systematic Review

Improving HIV Testing In Rural USA


  • Avery Petrucci UM Prince George's Hospital
  • Kristen Custer
  • Eric Cameron Nemec Sacred Heart University



Purpose: HIV incidence continues to increase, with a large portion of new diagnoses found in rural areas of the United States. The worsening statistics in rural areas may be attributed to stigma alone and contribute to the lack of testing available for patients. The objective of this systematic review is to identify accessible and feasible strategies to increase HIV testing within the rural communities in the United States.

Methods: A systematic literature search of CINAHL Complete, MEDLINE with Full Text, and PsycINFO with restrictions of the English language and rural communities outside of the United States through August 2, 2018.  Two independent investigators screened articles using predetermined inclusion and exclusion criteria. This systematic review is registered through PROSPERO: CRD42018108637.

Findings: There were 14 different studies with specific interventions attempting to increase the rate of HIV testing in rural communities in the United States. Technology, faith-based stigma reduction, access, and provider interventions emerged as themes regarding HIV testing and stigma improvement.

Conclusion:  There exists a body of literature that supports a number of specific interventions focusing on access, provider and patient perspective, and ways to decrease stigma that improve HIV testing and could be implemented in rural communities.

Keywords: Rural, HIV/AIDS, HIV testing/screening, stigma


Author Biographies

  • Avery Petrucci, UM Prince George's Hospital

    MPAS, PA-C
    Physician Assistant
    (Ms. Petrucci was a Physician Assistant student at Sacred Heart University when this manuscript was originally developed)

  • Kristen Custer

    MS, LGPC
    Clinical Therapist

  • Eric Cameron Nemec, Sacred Heart University

    PharmD, MEHP, BCPS
    Director of Research & Assessment, Clinical Associate Professor