Objectives. Partner counseling and referral services (PCRS) provide a unique opportunity to decrease transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) by notifying sex and drug-injection partners of HIV-infected individuals of their exposure to HIV. We incorporated rapid HIV testing into PCRS to reduce barriers associated with conventional HIV testing and identify undiagnosed HIV infection within this high-risk population. Methods. From April 2004 through June 2006, HIV-infected people (index clients) were interviewed, and their partners were notified of their potential exposure to HIV and offered rapid HIV testing at six sites in the United States. The numbers of index clients participating and the numbers of partners interviewed and tested were compared by site. Descriptive and bivariate analyses were performed. Results. A total of 2,678 index clients were identified, of whom 779 (29%) provided partner locating information. A total of 1,048 partners were elicited, of whom 463 (44%) were both interviewed and tested for HIV. Thirty-seven partners (8%) were newly diagnosed with HIV. The number of index clients interviewed to identify one partner with newly diagnosed HIV infection ranged from 10 to 137 at the participating sites. Conclusions. PCRS provides testing and prevention services to people at high risk for HIV infection. Incorporating rapid HIV testing into PCRS and identifying previously undiagnosed infections likely confer individual and public health benefits. Further evaluation is needed to determine the best methods of identifying partners with previously unrecognized HIV infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health