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Partner notification for HIV infection in Denmark: attitudes and preliminary results.
  1. A M Worm,
  2. E Smith,
  3. H Sørensen,
  4. H Haxholdt
  1. Department of Dermato-Venereology, Bispebjerg Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.

    Abstract

    OBJECTIVES: To examine attitudes, experience and preliminary results of partner notification (PN) for HIV infection in Denmark among the doctors who inform one of their patients about being HIV infected. METHOD: The doctors who had reported to the national HIV surveillance unit about a new-identified HIV infected person, during a 9 months period, were searched for one year later. The traced doctors were interviewed. The results of the interview related to 102 out of 195 (52%) reports were compared between the 48 interviewed general practitioners (GPs) and the 33 interviewed hospital doctors (HDs). The proportion of traced reporting doctors were higher among GPs than among HDs. RESULTS: Both GPs and HDs found it difficult to give a positive HIV test result and wanted trained counsellors to work with them in the PN process. Less experience and fewer post-graduate courses about HIV may explain the GPs' lack of confidence to follow-up asymptomatic HIV positive patients. It was neither a routine for all the GPs or for all HDs to ask about patient behaviour nor to discuss safe sex with their index patients, and screening for other sexually transmitted diseases were seldomly performed. The numbers of partners notified, especially by the doctors were low. CONCLUSIONS: HIV reporting doctors in Denmark are motivated for PN. Educational programmes about counselling and care of HIV infected patients should, however, be offered at intervals, especially to GPs. The outcome of PN can only be measured to a certain level as long as exposed partners are neither obliged to be tested nor to be counselled and as long as information about counselling and testing can not be shared between doctors in different settings.

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