Partner Notification Officers and Contact Tracers: who are they and what qualifications do they have?

Health professionals who undertake partner notification on a regular basis are often sexual health professionals who work in this specialty area. Having the capacity to offer testing in the community when undertaking provider referral partner notification is beneficial and having the capacity to deliver medication to clients or partners is often valuable, particularly for those partners who may have difficulty accessing clinical services.

Nurses often have additional skills and qualifications, such as postgraduate training in mental health, psychology or psychiatric nursing, that enable them to make psychological assessments of both index clients and partners being traced during the process to ensure their physical safety and psychological wellbeing. These skills also promote the rapid establishment of a trusting environment in an often stressful situation, especially if a partner is traced for HIV, is asymptomatic and unaware of their risk.