What are Partner Services?
HIV Partner Services helps people with HIV decide how to notify their sexual and/or needle-sharing partners that they may have been exposed to HIV. All services are voluntary, focused on the client, and strictly confidential. The Wisconsin AIDS/HIV Program, located in the Division of Public Health, coordinates Partner Services activities, and services are provided by local health department staff.
Wisconsin law requires that all cases of HIV are reported to the Division of Public Health. The law requires the Division and local health department staff to follow-up on certain communicable diseases like HIV infection.
Who is eligible to receive HIV Partner Services?
Anyone who tests positive for HIV can receive Partner Services.
What services are provided by Partner Services staff?
Local health department staff first contact a person with HIV (the client) and requests to meet with them. The Partner Services provider talks with the client, helps identify their needs, and assists them in connecting to HIV medical care.
The Partner Services provider encourages the client to discuss the client's sex and/or needle-sharing partners, including details about how to identify and locate partners in order to inform them of their possible exposure to HIV. If the client wants Partner Services staff to contact their partners, the staff do not not disclose the client's identity to any partners. When talking with partners, a Partner Services provider will discuss HIV prevention and will offer HIV testing services or refer them to an agency that provides HIV testing.
What are the ways that sexual and needle-sharing partners might be notified of their possible exposure to HIV?
Partner Services staff discuss several ways a person with HIV can notify their partners about their possible exposure to HIV. There are several options:
- A Partner Services provider can notify partners confidentially without disclosing the client's identity.
- A person with HIV can notify their partners directly.
- A person with HIV and the Partner Services provider can jointly notify partners.
- A person with HIV can first try notifying their partners and a Partner Services provider can notify those partners who were not contacted.
- Service providers other than local health department Partner Services staff (e.g., a person's health care provider) can notify partners.
How can I get help from Partner Services?
If you have HIV and would like help in notifying sex and/or needle-sharing partners of their possible exposure to HIV, you can contact a Partner Services provider on this list. You can also call the Partner Services Coordinator in the Wisconsin AIDS/HIV Program at 608-267-5288. Service providers who want to refer their clients for Partner Services are encouraged to access services in this same manner.