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A Systematic Review of HIV Partner Counseling and Referral Services: Client and Provider Attitudes, Preferences, Practices, and Experiences

Passin, Warren F. MPH, MSW; Kim, Angela S. MPH; Hutchinson, Angela B. PhD, MPH; Crepaz, Nicole PhD; Herbst, Jeffrey H. PhD; Lyles, Cynthia M. PhD; the HIV/AIDS Prevention Research Synthesis Project Team

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: May 2006 - Volume 33 - Issue 5 - pp 320-328
doi: 10.1097/01.olq.0000194597.16236.48

Objectives: The objectives of this study were to understand client and provider attitudes, experiences, and practices regarding HIV partner notification in the United States and to help identify future research and program needs.

Goals: The goals of this study were to synthesize the literature reporting client and provider attitudes, experiences, and practices and to identify potential negative effects of HIV partner notification.

Study Design: This study consisted of a systematic qualitative review.

Results: Clients were willing to self-notify partners and participate in provider notification, and few reported negative effects. The majority of healthcare providers were in favor of HIV partner notification; however, they did not consistently refer index clients to HIV partner notification programs.

Conclusion: Considering that clients have positive attitudes toward self- and provider referral, local HIV prevention programs need to ensure that all HIV-positive clients are offered partner notification services. Additional research is needed to assess the potential risks of notifying partners and to identify effective techniques to improve client and provider participation.

A qualitative literature review found that overall, clients are willing to self-notify and use provider referral to notify partners, and providers are not consistently referring clients to partner notification services.

From the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia

Other members of the HIV/AIDS Prevention Research Synthesis (PRS) Team who contributed to this review are (listed alphabetically): Julia B. DeLuca, Linda Kay, Mary Mullins, Sima Rama, and Sekhar Thadiparthi. The authors also thank Rich Wolitski, Sam Dooley, and Lisa Kimbrough for providing helpful comments on an earlier version of this article.

This work was supported by the Prevention Research Branch, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and was not funded by any other organization.

The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Correspondence: Warren F. Passin, MPH, MSW, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Prevention Research Branch, 1600 Clifton Rd., Mailstop E-37, Atlanta, GA 30333. E-mail:

Received for publication July 21, 2005, and accepted September 16, 2005.

© Copyright 2006 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association