The practice of notifying an individual’s sexual partners after an HIV diagnosis could stand for improvement where youth are concerned.

Publishing their findings in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, researchers recruited 924 people 13 to 24 years old who were living with HIV and did not contract the virus from their mothers. The participants took a computer-assisted self-interview that posed questions about their demographics and their experiences with partner notification.

A total of 82.5 percent of the participants were male, 70.1 percent were Black and 18.2 percent were Latino. A total of 93.4 percent of the males reported having sex with other males.

A total of 77.6 percent of the participants reported that some or all of their partners were alerted to their HIV diagnosis through partner notification services, and 22.4 percent said that none of their partners received such a notice.

In 52.4 percent of cases, just one person discussed partner notification with the participants. Most commonly, this individual was the person conducting the HIV testing (36.5 percent) or the health care provider of the newly HIV-positive young person (27.6 percent). A total of 18.3 percent of the young people said they themselves had been notified of a partner’s HIV status.

After adjusting the data for various factors, the researchers found that factors associated with successful partner notification included: more than one person discussed partner notification with the newly HIV-positive individual (raised the likelihood by 1.87-fold); the indvidual testing positive was him or herself notified of a previous partner’s positive HIV status (1.83-fold increased likelihood); and compared with a lack of a high school diploma, the individual testing positive had some college education or technical training (1.72-fold increased likelihood).

“Partner notification might benefit from enhanced guidelines that call for both HIV testers and HIV care providers to discuss this important strategy with HIV-positive youth,” the researchers concluded.

To read the study abstract, click here.