Partner notification and contact tracing

Jane Tomnay: Centre for Excellence in Rural Sexual Health, The University of Melbourne

What is partner notification?

The terms ‘partner notification’ and ‘contact tracing’ are often used interchangeably. These terms refer to the process of informing partners of a person with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (or other sexually transmissible infections (STIs)) that they are at risk of having an STI such as HIV, and they should seek testing and treatment.  Partners sharing injecting equipment may also be at risk of contracting HIV or viral hepatitis. Until the partner is assessed as not having the infection, or until they are adequately treated, they should take precautions not to transmit their possible infection to others.  The main purpose of partner notification is to assist partners who may be unaware of their risk, to have testing, and if they have the infection, to have treatment.[1]