Objectives Partner notification (PN) is a key public health intervention in the control of STIs. Data regarding its clinical effectiveness in the context of HIV are lacking. We sought to audit HIV PN outcomes across the UK.
Methods All UK sexual health and HIV services were invited to participate. Clinical audit consisted of retrospective case-note review for up to 40 individuals diagnosed with HIV per site during 2011 (index cases) and a review of PN outcomes for up to five contacts elicited by PN per index case.
Results 169/221 (76%) clinical services participated (93% sexual health/HIV services, 7% infectious diseases/HIV units). Most (97%) delivered PN for HIV. Data were received regarding 2964 index cases (67% male; 50% heterosexual, 52% white). PN was attempted for 88% of index cases, and outcomes for 3211 contacts were audited (from an estimated total of 6400): 519 (16%) were found not to be at risk of undiagnosed HIV infection, 1399 (44%) were informed of their risk and had an HIV test, 310 (10%) were informed of the risk but not known to have tested and 983 (30%) were not informed of their risk of HIV infection. Of 1399 contacts tested through PN, 293 (21%) were newly diagnosed with HIV infection. Regular partners were most likely to test positive (p<0.001).
Conclusions HIV PN is a highly effective diagnostic strategy. Non-completion of PN thus represents a missed opportunity to diagnose HIV in at-risk populations. Vigorous efforts should be made to pursue PN to identify people living with, and at risk of, HIV infection.
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Handling editor Jackie A Cassell
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Collaborators Members of BASHH National Audit Group: Ann Sullivan, Hugo McClean, Chris Carne, Vanessa Apea, Anatole Menon-Johansson, Meena Gupta, Liz Anderson, Huw Price, Andy Williams, Sarup Tayal, Say Quah, Cara Saxon, Gill Wildman, Ciara Cunningham, Amelia Hughes, Andrew DeBurgh-Thomas, Steven Ostrich, Manjula Pammi, Meena Sethupathi, Sara Scofield, Sumit Bhaduri, Maneh Farazmand, Emma Street, Sophie Brady, Michael Rayment, David Daniels, Helen Wiggins, Erna Buitendam, John Saunders, Helen Ward, Jamie Hardie. Members of the BHIVA Audit and Standards Sub-committee: Andrew Freedman, Ann Sullivan, Brian Angus, David Asboe, Garry Brough, Fiona Burns, David Chadwick, Duncan Churchill, Valerie Delpech, Katja Doerholt, Yvonne Gillette, Aoife Molloy, Chinyere Okoli, Ed Ong, Alison Rodger, Caroline Sabin, Julie Musonda, Sonia Raffe, Michael Rayment.
Contributors All authors designed the audit, coordinated data collection and reviewed and analysed the data. MR drafted the article and all authors reviewed it. Members of the BASHH National Audit Group and BHIVA Audit and Standards Subcommittee contributed to the design, conduct and analysis of the audit.
Funding This audit was funded by the National Audit Group of the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV, and by the Audit and Standards Subcommittee of the British HIV Association.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data sharing statement All original and unpublished data are available on request. Please direct enquiries to Hilary Curtis at: email@example.com.
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