Contact tracing is an essential part of the management of a person newly diagnosed with HIV but should rarely be the priority in the initial encounter. People with HIV can experience significant discrimination and rejection. There are implications for employment, relationships, insurance and immigration unless there is a possibility of providing post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to the partner . Confidentiality is usually a major concern and contact tracing can be difficult. Inexpert or insensitive handling of this issue can sometimes be enough to ensure immediate disengagement from health care. The newly diagnosed person will often raise the question of how the infection was acquired (and when) or can be gently led in this direction with questions about the timing of the last negative test or an illness suggestive of primary HIV infection. This conversation allows an opportunity to explore relationships and introduce the concept of contact tracing. Contact tracing should be seen as a process over time rather than an immediate concern.