Studies: Learning of partner's HIV status may not result in breakup

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com March 08 2003 12:00 AM ET

Two new studies by researchers at Tulane University and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment may help ease the fears of HIV-positive people reluctant to have health officials notify their partners of their infection. Study data show that people who are contacted by HIV notification programs and told that their partner is infected with HIV are no more likely to break off the relationship than those who find out their partner has another less serious sexually transmitted disease, Reuters Health reports. The studies of partner notification programs showed that in nearly half of all HIV cases, the relationships did end within a few weeks of when the HIV-negative partner was informed. But the breakup rate was on a par seen with couples involved in syphilis notification programs. The Colorado study also showed that none of the people surveyed said they based their decisions to continue or to end their relationships on having learned of their partner's infection via the notification program rather than directly from their partner. Both studies showed that breakups were least likely among couples in long-term relationships or those who live together.