African Americans who receive an HIV diagnosis engage in what are known as partner services at a slightly higher than average rate. This involves the newly diagnosed individual working with clinicians or public health workers to notify their sex or needle-sharing partners of a possible exposure to the virus and offering them testing and other services.
Publishing their findings in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researchers analyzed 2016 data from 59 health departments that were reported to the National HIV Prevention Program Monitoring and Evaluation system.
A total of 48,266 people recently diagnosed with HIV were identified as potential candidates for partner services; 21,191 (43 percent) of them were Black. Seventy-six percent of the African-American candidates were interviewed for partner services, compared with 73 percent of all candidates.
Of the 11,088 African-American sex or needle-sharing partners whom the newly diagnosed people identified through partner services, 78 percent received a notification that they had potentially been exposed to the virus. Of those notified, 47 percent were tested for HIV. Of those tested, 17 percent received a new diagnosis of the virus.
There were especially high proportions of positive test results among those taken by the Black transgender women and men who have sex with men (MSM) identified through partner services; a respective 38 percent and 37 percent of these groups had HIV.
“Effective implementation of partner services is important to identify HIV infection, link patients to care or reengage them in care, and provide prevention services to reduce HIV transmission,” the study authors stated.
To read the CDC report, click here.