Henley, C., Forgwei, G., Welty, T., et al. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (December 2013), Vol. 40 No. 12, pp. 909-914.
HIV partner services—wherein trained staff interview persons diagnosed with HIV about their sexual partners in an effort to notify and test partners—are uncommon in low-income countries. The authors evaluated a HIV partner services program implemented in Cameroon since 2007. The findings showed that the HIV partner services implemented in various testing facilities were feasible, can identify many HIV-positive persons and link them to care, and offer an avenue for reaching HIV-positive men. Health providers interviewed 1,462 index cases during the study (73 percent female), receiving information on 1,607 partners. A notification plan was developed for 93 percent of partners; 60 percent of clients chose to have providers notify their partners. In total, 1,347 (84 percent) of partners were successfully notified; partners of married index cases were more likely to be informed. Nine hundred partners (67 percent) were tested for HIV; 50 percent were positive (and most were linked to HIV care and treatment). The program has expanded into prevention of mother-to-child transmission programs. Future research should evaluate the effect of HIV partner services on partnerships, and the program’s cost-effectiveness, potential negative consequences, and impact on perinatal transmission and sexual risk behavior in discordant couples; operational studies should investigate populations where partner services programs can be most effective.