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Partner Notification for Youth Living With HIV in 14 Cities in the United States

van den Berg, Jacob, J., PhD*; Javanbakht, Marjan, PhD†,‡; Gorbach, Pamina, M., DrPH†,‡; Rudy, Bret, J., MD§; Westfall, Andrew, O., PhD; Wilson, Craig, M., MD; Lally, Michelle, A., MD, MSc#The Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions

JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: January 1, 2018 - Volume 77 - Issue 1 - p 46–52
doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000001565
Prevention Research

Background: Identifying factors associated with partner notification among youth living with HIV is critical for effective HIV prevention and treatment strategies.

Methods: A total of 924 male and female behaviorally infected youth aged 13–24 across 14 U.S. cities completed an audio computer-assisted self-interview including questions about demographics and experiences with patient- and provider-referral partner notification.

Results: The majority of participants self-identified as male (82.5%), Black/non-Hispanic (70.1%), and Hispanic/Latino (18.2%). Most males (93.4%) reported engaging in male-to-male sexual contact. Over three-quarters (77.6%) reported that all or some of their partners were contacted, while 22.4% indicated that none were contacted regarding potential HIV exposure. Most (52.4%) reported that only one person talked to them about notifying partners including the HIV tester (36.5%) followed by their health care provider/doctor (27.6%). Less than a fifth (18.3%) were themselves notified of their own exposure to HIV. Using multivariable logistic regression, 3 factors were associated with successful partner notification: (1) when more than one person talked to participants about partner notification (AOR = 1.87, 1.33–2.62); (2) if they themselves had been notified of their own HIV exposure (AOR = 1.83, 1.13–2.95); and (3) if their education included some college or technical school versus less than high school (AOR = 1.72, 1.04–2.85).

Conclusions: Partner notification among youth living with HIV is unsuccessful at least 22.4% of the time, although minimal criteria for partner services are being met almost universally. Partner notification might benefit from enhanced guidelines that call for both HIV testers and HIV care providers to discuss this important strategy with HIV-positive youth.

*Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, Brown University School of Public Health, Providence, RI;

Department of Epidemiology, Fielding School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA;

Division of Infectious Diseases, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, CA;

§Department of Pediatrics, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY;

Departments of Biostatistics;

Epidemiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health, Birmingham, AL; and

#Department of Medicine, Lifespan Hospital Systems, Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and the VA Medical Center, Providence, RI.

Correspondence to: Jacob J. van den Berg, PhD, Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, Brown University School of Public Health, 121 South Main Street, Providence, RI 02291 (e-mail:

Supported by The Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions (ATN) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) [U01HD040533 and U01HD040474] through the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (Kapogiannis, Lee), with supplemental funding from the National Institutes on Drug Abuse (Davenny, Kahana) and Mental Health (Brouwers, Allison). Support was also provided to the first and last authors by the Providence/Boston Center for AIDS Research (P30AI042853, PI: Cu-Uvin), and to the second author through a Career Development Award (K01AI091861, PI: M.J.) from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The last author was also partially supported by Institutional Development Award Number U54GM115677 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the NIH, which funds Advance Clinical and Translational Research. Network, scientific and logistical support was provided by the ATN Coordinating Center (Wilson, Partlow) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Network operations and data management support was provided by the ATN Data and Operations center at Westat, Inc. (Korelitz, Driver). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Received May 17, 2017

Accepted September 20, 2017

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