Background: Partner notification legislation has recently been implemented in New York State.
Goal: The goal of the study was to assess willingness of individuals seeking HIV testing to (1) give counselors contact information about partners, if infected, and (2) contact partners on their own.
Study Design: Before implementation of the legislation, 1372 individuals seeking HIV testing at New York City Department of Health STD clinics completed a brief, anonymous survey.
Results: More than 90% of heterosexually active individuals and more than 80% of men who have sex with men (MSM) could contact sex partners with whom they had had unprotected vaginal/anal sex. Were they to test HIV-positive, almost all respondents would have been willing to notify sex partners personally; 90% of heterosexually active individuals and 80% of MSM also expressed willingness to provide contact information to providers. Respondents preferred to be notified by a sex partner rather than by a provider. Patient-referred clients reported being more comfortable with the referral than provider-referred clients.
Conclusions: Voluntary partner notification performed by the index case—with notification by the provider should the former fail to occur—is recommended.