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Most volunteers for AIDS test go to private doctors, CDC says

Two-thirds of the Americans who voluntarily get tested for the AIDS virus go to private doctors, and they are less likely to get the counseling offered at public clinics, federal health officials said Thursday.

Of the 8.8-million Americans who have been voluntarily tested for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, 5.9-million went to private doctors or hospitals, the Centers for Disease Control reported.

The figures come from the just-released results of a 1990 survey and mark the first time the CDC has estimated private AIDS tests, said Dr. John Anderson of the agency's National Center for Prevention Services.

The CDC surveyed 40,513 adults and found 2,061 were tested voluntarily. Of those, 712 were tested at public sites, while 1,349 were tested privately.

The survey found 58.3 percent of those tested at public sites received counseling before the test and 43.2 percent after the test, compared with 39 and 24.6 percent, respectively, of people tested privately.

The Atlanta-based CDC encourages counseling with AIDS tests. Also, doctors should encourage partner notification and medical treatment, and people who test positive or remain at risk should be referred to AIDS agencies, the CDC says.