CDC defines good partner notification

As a way of making health care providers more familiar with and skilled at partner notification, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has defined its primary characteristics.

Partner notification is defined as: "a prevention intervention with goals in both primary prevention (to provide information and services to those unaware of their risk) and secondary prevention (to facilitate access to care and avert further transmission)."

Partner notification activities include the index or original patient and one or more exposed partners.

Here are the characteristics of partner notification for HIV prevention:

Partner notification is a service to the index patient that is:

• voluntary;

• confidential (unless the index patient wishes to do the notification);

• conducted with the index patient in a collegial and cooperative manner;

• conducted in a manner that responds to index patient’s needs;

• allows the index patient to carry out the notification if he or she wishes;

• enhances the index patient’s skills and approaches, if he or she chooses to do the otification;

• offers notification by a third party;

• allows the index patient and third party to jointly meet with partner(s) for notification, if the index patient chooses;

• is sensitive to potential consequences to the index patient, including damage to relationships, violence, and social consequences.

Partner notification is a service to partners that:

• advises them of their exposure;

• offers them the opportunity to learn HIV status;

• supports behavior change with HIV risk;

• facilitates access to a spectrum of supportive services to empower the partner;

• facilitates access to medical care, if appropriate;

• is sensitive to potential consequences to the partner, including damage to relationships, violence, and social consequences.

In summary, partner notification is flexible, voluntary, confidential, accountable, and part of a community planning process.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unpublished handout, 1996.