HIV partner notification (PN) is a process in which contacts of people with HIV are identified and offered HIV testing. This strategy provides considerable opportunities to reach those at highest risk of HIV and reduce onward transmission through approaches such as post-(PEP) and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and well established antenatal interventions. Thus effective HIV PN confers benefit to individual health by facilitating earlier diagnosis and linkage to care, and benefits public health by preventing the spread of infection. Achieving effective HIV PN can be challenging - less than 3% of the 4060 individuals newly diagnosed with HIV in a GUM clinic in 2013 are reported as being identified through PN (1). Around a fifth of new infections are recently acquired (1) and these individuals have high levels of viraemia, conferring much greater risk of transmission. There is therefore a pressing need to develop and maintain robust clinical and public health practice for HIV PN across the UK.
This document defines relevant outcomes and proposes standards for HIV PN. It does not describe the processes nor best clinical practice for PN; these are to be found in the BASHH Statement on Partner Notification for Sexually Transmissible Infections and the SSHA Manual for Sexual Health Advisers.
This guidance has been developed by a multidisciplinary group of clinical, public health and third sector experts for use by multiprofessional clinicians, services and commissioners to monitor their performance against agreed standards, with the overall aim of improving the delivery of HIV PN nationally, thereby increasing diagnoses of HIV and impacting on both individual and public health.