Only half of people living with HIV know their status. To increase that proportion and achieve the first of UNAIDS' 90-90-90 goals, the World Health Organization recommends a mix of testing strategies. HIV partner notification, also known as partner services, offers HIV testing services (HTS) to the sexual partners of individuals newly diagnosed with HIV (i.e., index cases). Three main methods have been described for partner notification and HTS in sub-Saharan African settings:
- Passive referral - Index patient is encouraged to disclose to their sexual partner(s) that they have been exposed to HIV and refers them to HTS.
- Contact referral - Index patient is allowed a period of time to notify and refer sexual partners to HTS, if the partner does not report within a certain time a health care provider contacts the partner of their exposure.
- Provider referral - Health care provider contacts the sexual partners concerning their exposure and directs them to HTS. Assisted partner notification services (APS) are a key strategy in the United States and Europe to increase HIV case findings. Despite the success of APS in these regions, partner notification has not been implemented in large-scale programs in sub-Saharan African countries and knowledge is limited.
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