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Partner notification in HIV-1 infection: a population based evaluation of process and outcomes in Scotland
  1. Noreen Mir1,
  2. Anne Scoular1,
  3. Karen Lee1,
  4. Avril Taylor2,
  5. Sheila M Bird3,
  6. Sharon Hutchinson2,
  7. Anne-Marie Worm4,
  8. David Goldberg2
  1. 1Department of Genitourinary Medicine and Sexual Health, Glasgow Royal Infirmary University NHS Trust, Glasgow G31 2ER, UK
  2. 2Scottish Centre for Infection and Environmental Health, Glasgow G3 7LN, UK
  3. 3MRC Biostatistics Unit, Cambridge CB2 2SR, UK
  4. 4Department of Dermato-Venereology, Bispebjerg Hospital, DK-2400 Copenhagen, Denmark
  1. Dr Noreen Mir, Locum Consultant, Department of Genitourinary Medicine, The Russell Institute, Causeyside Street, Paisley PA1 1UR, UKnoreenmir{at}


Objectives: To evaluate the process and outcomes of HIV partner notification (PN) activity in Scotland.

Design: Retrospective population based study.

Subjects: 114 adults newly diagnosed with HIV infection (index patients) in Scotland between September 1995 and August 1996.

Setting: Healthcare settings in which all 114 new HIV diagnoses were made: 42 (37%) from genitourinary medicine; 32 (28%) infectious diseases; 18 (16%) general practice; and 22 (19%) from other sites.

Main outcome measures: Number of partners notified and tested up to 9 months after initial diagnosis.

Results: Of 114 index patients (IPs), information on current partners was available for 102 (89%). PN was not appropriate for 47 of the 102 IPs. The remaining 55 IPs identified 63 current partners at risk, of whom 51 were notified: 44 underwent HIV testing, which yielded 11 new HIV positive diagnoses. Information on previous partners was available for only 56 IPs (49%). PN was not appropriate for 30 of the 56 IPs; the remaining 26 IPs identified 46 previous partners at risk, of whom 12 were notified: four were tested, but yielded no new diagnoses.

Conclusions: Notification of current partners was performed well and was an effective strategy for identification of HIV positive individuals at a presymptomatic stage. Notification of previous partners was limited. Partner notification was attempted in a wide range of healthcare settings. Given the clinical effectiveness of antiretroviral therapy, partner notification as a tool towards early diagnosis of HIV disease deserves renewed attention.

  • HIV
  • contact tracing

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