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HIV Risk Behaviors and Testing in Delaware

According to the 2020 Behavioral Risk Factor Survey, the last time these questions were asked, about 5.5 percent of Delaware adults reported behaviors that put them at risk for getting the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).  That translates to an estimated 38,000 Delawareans.

There was a significant difference by gender, with twice as many male respondents reporting HIV risk behaviors.  In 2022, 7.8 percent of men reported risk behaviors, compared with 3.4 percent of women.  Other demographic differences were not statistically significant, in part due to small numbers of respondents (and therefore wide confidence intervals).

To assess HIV risk behaviors, the BRFS interviewer tells the respondent: "I am going to read you a list.  When I'm done, please tell me if any of the situations described apply to you.  You do not need to tell me which one."   A yes response (i.e. one or more of the behaviors applied to the respondent) places the individual at significant risk of getting HIV.  The list of risk factors includes:

  • injection of any drug other than ones prescribed for you in the past year
  • treatment for a sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the past year
  • giving or receiving money or drugs in exchange for sex in the past year
  • anal sex without a condom in the past year
  • having four or more sexual partners in the past year.

As of September 2023, the Division’s HIV Prevention Program reported that 3,932 people in Delaware are currently living with HIV or AIDS. Delaware was reporting less than 100 new infections each year over the past five years, however saw 124 new infections in 2022.


Almost half – 40.6 percent – of Delaware adults report having been tested at some time for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, according to the 2022 BRFS.  Prevalence of testing is higher – greater than 61.5 percent – among adults between 35 and 54 years of age.  Only 22.5  percent of young adults 18-24 report ever being tested for HIV.  The question specifically excluded tests they may have had as part of a blood donation.

Black or African American adults are more likely to have been tested.  In 2022, 56.3 percent of black adults in Delaware reported having been tested for HIV, compared to 35.0 percent of non-Hispanic white adults, and 40.8 percent of Hispanic/Latino adults.

The majority (51.6 percent) of those who have been tested said their last test was between 2015 and 2020.  Another 15.5 percent reported their last test was in 2021.

Return to the main Delaware BRFS page.