XVIII International AIDS Conference

Abstract

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HIV partner notification using voluntary, anonymous telephone contact in Guatemala City

Presented by Karla Patricia Alonzo (Guatemala).

K.P. Alonzo1, B. Samayoa2, E. Arathoon3, M. Anderson3, B. Palma4, N. Valenzuela4, J. Arvizú5, M.A. Gonzalez4, A.I. Ortiz4, J. Gomez5, M. Linares4, J.C. Fonseca4


1ASI-Clinica Familiar Luis Angel García, Guatemala, Guatemala, 2Asociaciòn de Salud Integral ASI Clinica Familiar Luis Angel García, Investigation, Guatemala, Guatemala, 3Asociaciòn de Salud Integral ASI Clinica Familiar Luis Angel García, Medical, Guatemala, Guatemala, 4ASI-Clinica Familiar Luis Angel García, Psychology, Guatemala, Guatemala, 5Asociaciòn de Salud Integral ASI Clinica Familiar Luis Angel García, Psicología, Guatemala, Guatemala

Background: Partner notification is important for both reducing HIV transmission and bringing infected individuals into care. While legally mandated in Guatemala, there are no national PN programs or protocols. We examined the feasibility and effectiveness of HIV PN delivered via telephone. The study site was a national HIV reference center located in one of Guatemala's two national hospitals.
Methods: PN is routinely discussed with all newly diagnosed patients. From July to October 2009 we offered all patients at the clinic the possibility of contacting their partners by telephone and informing them of their exposure to HIV; the name of the index patient was not revealed. If they agreed, index patients provided basic demographic information about the partner including a phone number. Psychologists from the clinic attempted to call the partners and requested they come to a private laboratory to discuss “an important personal health matter.” Partners who presented to the laboratory were informed of their exposure to HIV and offered VCT. If infected they were referred to the clinic for care. Index patients were asked to return for a follow-up interview.
Results: Telephone PN was offered to 1033 individuals (434 women). Reasons for refusal included 1) partner already knew (389); 2) loss of contact (207); 3) partner was a sex worker (155). 35 individuals offered the names of 42 partners. Of these we spoke to 27 by phone. 21 were tested (5 HIV infected). Index patients were pleased with the phone service and felt calmed by a sense they had done their duty.
Conclusions: Delivering PN via telephone proved feasible even in a resource-limited setting. The yield in terms of partners tested was low and only five new patients were diagnosed over four months. Phone PN, however, was the only acceptable method for certain individuals.


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