The Sentinel Hospital Surveillance System was established in 1986 to detect and monitor HIV prevalence in populations at acute-care hospitals in metropolitan areas of the United States. The survey focused on persons treated at participating hospitals, including outpatient and emergency services, for medical conditions unrelated to HIV infection or major HIV risk behaviors. The sentinel hospital study concluded at the end of 1995.
Hospitals participated in the Sentinel Hospital Surveillance System on the basis of responses to a request for proposals issued by CDC and thus were not a representative sample of all hospitals in the United States. Hospitals had participated in a previous phase of the Sentinel Hospital Surveillance System for HIV infection and met the definition for high HIV prevalence among hospital patients in 1990-1991 (one or more cases of newly diagnosed AIDS per 1000 patients discharged per year). Serum specimens that remained after clinical testing of inpatients and outpatients were systematically selected to meet quotas based on the distribution of age and sex in the U.S. population. The data presented in this report exclude results of tests of blood specimens from persons whose hospital visits were specifically for conditions associated with HIV infection, such as AIDS, or related to considerably increased risk for exposure to HIV infection, such as hemophilia or drug overdose.
HIV prevalence rates were higher among males than among females for whites, blacks, and Hispanics at hospitals that participated in the survey during 1994. For males and females, overall rates were higher for blacks than for whites. HIV prevalence differed by region (Table 6).
These patterns persisted during 1995. Prevalence rates among males were higher at nearly all participating hospitals. Rates increased in the Northeast from 1994 to 1995 for all race/ethnicity groups for males and also for white and black females (Tables 6 and
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