Background: Acute infections with HIV account for a disproportionate share of forward transmission in certain populations. We hypothesized that persons with acute HIV infection (AHI) would identify more named partners than those with established HIV infection (EHI).
Methods: We reviewed North Carolina surveillance databases to identify all persons aged ≥18 years in whom HIV was diagnosed during November 1, 2002 to October 31, 2007. We compared the number of named partners identified by persons with AHI versus EHI (based on nucleic acid amplification plus serologic testing) using a multivariable model and also compared information regarding HIV testing among partners identified by these groups.
Results: EHI was diagnosed in 9044 persons and AHI in 120 persons during the study period. Persons with AHI named 2.5 times more partners per index patient [95% confidence interval: 2.1 to 3.0] and 1.9 times more partners newly diagnosed with HIV infection per index patient (95% confidence interval: 1.1 to 3.5) as did persons with EHI.
Discussion: In North Carolina, persons with AHI identified proportionately more named partners and more partners newly diagnosed with HIV infections than persons with EHI. Improved detection of AHI offers critical opportunities to intervene and potentially reduce transmission of HIV.