Internet Partner Services
Partner Services, as traditionally conducted, has been endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD) as an effective public health strategy to reduce STD and HIV transmission and associated morbidity. Partner Services attempts to inform people of their potential exposure to STDs/HIV, and to refer them into care, thereby breaking the chain of infection and reducing morbidity.
The Internet is a powerful medium for communication and a valuable tool for facilitating STD/HIV Partner Services. Research has shown the Internet to be a venue for STD/HIV transmission as well as for disease control and health promotion. Access to the Internet has become nearly universal for most Americans, and program areas and health departments have been encouraged to incorporate the Internet into their prevention efforts. With the rise of Internet-based social networking, dating, and sex sites, increasing numbers of high-risk populations are meeting online to arrange anonymous sexual encounters. As a result, individuals who are newly diagnosed with STDs/HIV may know only the screen names and/or email addresses of their sex partners.
The STD/HIV Program has implemented contacting partners of individuals who test positive for Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and HIV via the Internet. Modeled after successful launches by other states and following national guidelines, our office has laid the groundwork for keeping up with yet another avenue of reaching at-risk Louisiana and out of jurisdiction residents to provide STD/HIV services. Patients who test positive for any of these four infections are counseled about the need for their partners to be tested by the HIV Counselor or a Disease Intervention Specialist (DIS). Many patients have stated that they meet partners online and do not have other locating information. These partners can be contacted anonymously by our State Internet Partner Services Coordinator.
For additional information about Internet Partner Services contact:
Internet Partner Services Coordinator
Louisiana Office of Public Health