Devon D. Brewer, PhD; John J. Potterat, BA
The Editors welcome submissions for possible publication in the Letters section. Authors of letters should:
•Include no more than 300 words of text, three authors, and five references
•Type with double-spacing
•Send three copies of the letter, an authors' form signed by all authors, and a cover letter describing any conflicts of interest related to the contents of the letter.
Letters commenting on an Annals article will be considered if they are received within 6 weeks of the time the article was published. Only some of the letters received can be published. Published letters are edited and may be shortened; tables and figures are included only selectively. Authors will be notified that the letter has been received. If the letter is selected for publication, the author will be notified about 3 weeks before the publication date. Unpublished letters cannot be returned.
Annals welcomes electronically submitted letters.
Brewer DD, Potterat JJ. Name-Based Surveillance for HIV-Infected Persons. Ann Intern Med. 2000;132:922-923. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-132-11-200006060-00018
Download citation file:
Published: Ann Intern Med. 2000;132(11):922-923.
TO THE EDITOR:
Osmond and colleagues (1) found that HIV-infected persons who tested anonymously reported that they personally notified as many sex and needle-sharing partners (mean, 3.9) as persons who tested confidentially and notified partners with the help of health department workers (mean, 3.8). From these results, Osmond and colleagues argue that patient referral may be as effective as health department–assisted referral for notifying partners. A methodologic flaw in their study precludes this conclusion.
The authors did not validate the retrospective claims of their patients with AIDS about how many partners were notified after HIV diagnosis, an event likely to have occurred several years before AIDS diagnosis and the study survey. In contrast, Landis and colleagues (2) conducted a randomized trial comparing patient referral to health department–assisted referral. They measured the number of partners notified in each group directly from health department contact-tracing records, finding that seven times more partners were notified with health department–assisted referral than with patient referral. Many reports indicate that persons with HIV infection are unlikely to notify their partners. In one study (3), for example, 50% of HIV-infected persons had not notified any past sex partner 12 months after initial HIV diagnosis; in another (4), 90% had not notified any partner 3 months after initial HIV diagnosis. Even after 2 years of repeated counseling to notify partners, 30% of participants in a third study (5) still had not notified any past sex partner. By extension, if one were to assume that, say, 50% of Osmond and colleagues' patients who chose to test anonymously did not in fact notify their partners, the other 50% must have notified a mean of 7.8 partners, a highly implausible scenario. Given the countervailing evidence, Osmond and colleagues' study reminds us that unvalidated data cannot be trusted in evaluating partner notification approaches.
Learn more about subscription options.
Register Now for a free account.
Copyright © 2016 American College of Physicians. All Rights Reserved.
Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
Conditions of Use
This PDF is available to Subscribers Only