HIV seropositive drug users' attitudes towards partner notification (PCRS): Results from the SHIELD study in Baltimore, Maryland

Karin E Tobin, Kathryn E. Muessig, Carl A Latkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: To assess the attitudes of HIV seropositive current or former drug users towards HIV partner counseling and referral services (PCRS) and to determine if opinion varies by partner type. Methods: We used a cross-sectional survey using structured and semi-structured questions to measure attitudes towards PCRS. Results: The majority of the sample was African-American (97%), male (63%) and had been diagnosed with HIV for a mean of 7.9 years. Most agreed that PCRS would help stop the spread of HIV and AIDS (87%). A range of reactions to scenarios of their drug and sex partners being informed were observed and included positive reactions (e.g. PCRS as a means to facilitate testing of their partners and early treatment) to negative (e.g. feelings about guilt, shame and concern about partner responses). Conclusion: Data from this study indicate that HIV positive drug users view PCRS as a viable practice for preventing the spread of HIV, though barriers exist to engaging clients to identify partners. Practice implications: The range of reactions noted in this study underscore the importance of providing flexible options for PCRS based on partner type. Additional training for counselors, time for case-management and meetings with sex and drug partners and fieldwork for locating contacts are important considerations for providers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-142
Number of pages6
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007



  • Drug users
  • HIV testing
  • Partner notification
  • PCRS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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