The County of San Diego offers Partner Services. This free and confidential service provides a safe way for HIV-positive people to tell their sexual or needle-sharing partners that they may have been exposed to HIV. Partner Services can help with partner notification for those who are newly diagnosed or have been living with HIV for any length of time. One in five persons infected with HIV does not know they are HIV-positive and may unknowingly pass the virus on to his or her partner.
Partner Services Health Advisors are highly trained public health professionals who help people understand their options for getting assistance to notify their partners. They can help anyone who is HIV-positive to choose the best disclosure assistance option for each situation. Once a partner has been told of his or her exposure to HIV, the Health Advisor provides resources and information to address any questions that might come up and can even provide HIV testing. Health Advisors understand that talking about HIV is not easy; they walk each person through the process at a comfortable pace without any judgment, protecting confidentiality throughout the process. This means that they will never reveal any information to any of the people who are notified.
If you are HIV-positive and choose to talk with a Health Advisor, they can help you in one or more of the following ways:
• Health Advisors use the information you provide to notify your partner for you without ever letting them know who you are. This Partner Service option is called third-party notification.
• Health Advisors can be with you when you tell your partner to provide you with support and to answer any questions either of you may have. This Partner Services option is called dual disclosure assistance.
• Some people feel they’re ready to tell their partner themselves, but may need a little support before they do it. Health Advisors can help you to plan how to tell your partner yourself. They can help you figure out what to say and how and when to say it. They can even give you information about testing and other services that you can share with your partner. This Partner Service option is called self-disclosure assistance.
Remember: Health Advisors can tell your partner(s) about their exposure to HIV without revealing any information about you – your name or any information about the times you were together. Whatever option you chose, a Health Advisor can offer free HIV testing to your partner(s).
Interested in speaking to a Partner Services Health Advisor? Click here to contact us.