New York City Partner Notification System Helps Identify HIV-Positive People Who Are Unaware of Their Status
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's partner notification system for HIV/AIDS has helped to identify "scores" of HIV-positive people who were unaware that they were infected, the AP/Long Island Newsday reports. According to a survey released in October 2003, as many as 20,000 of the estimated 100,000 HIV-positive people in New York are unaware of their status. Under the partner notification program, city health workers contact the sexual partners of people who are diagnosed with HIV and encourage them to get tested (AP/Long Island Newsday, 3/14). People who identify and give contact information for their sexual partners are ensured confidentiality. In 2002, the city health department administered HIV tests to 34,000 people. Health department workers collected the names and addresses of 241 sexual partners from 485 people who tested positive. The city was able to contact 169 of the 241 named partners, and 99 of the 169 people got tested. Twenty-five people tested positive. The department also fills partner notification requests from doctors and other service providers. "One way we can stop the spread of HIV is to contact partners of infected people who may be afraid or ashamed to do it themselves," Susan Blank, assistant commissioner of the health department's STD Program, said (Edelman, New York Post, 3/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.