Matthew R. Anderson, M.D.
Voluntary Counseling and Testing and A Patient-Referral Model Of Partner Notification In Guatemala
(This study was funded as a CFAR Pilot Project)
Guatemala has few health systems in place to stem its emerging HIV epidemic. Partner notification (PN) when supported by a foundation of voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) can reduce risk among HIV-positive and HIV-negative individuals. PN involves working with HIV-positive patients to notify sexual and needle-sharing partners of potential exposure to HIV. The success of PN relies on effective VCT so that those identified as HIV-positive or potentially exposed to HIV will receive information and support to reduce risk and prevent further transmission. Although VCT is routinely offered in Guatemalan clinics, it is not known whether VCT has an impact there on risk behaviors and could support PN. We propose to study the effects of VCT on risk behavior at tan AIDS clinic in Guatemala. Both HIV-negative and HIV-positive patients will complete risk assessments at the time of testing and three months later. We will also pilot a preliminary form of PN using a patient referral model among a sample of HIV-positive patients. This project draws on the expertise of researchers in New York and Guatemala to strengthen a developing program of collaborative research. Findings will contribute to a proposal to implement and evaluate PN at AIDS clinic in Guatemala.