Health Worker Perspectives on Barriers and Facilitators of Assisted Partner Notification for HIV for Refugees and Ugandan Nationals: A Mixed Methods Study in West Nile Uganda

AIDS Behav. 2021 Oct;25(10):3206-3222. doi: 10.1007/s10461-021-03265-1. Epub 2021 Apr 21.


Assisted partner notification (APN) is recommended by the World Health Organization to notify sexual partners of HIV exposure. Since 2018, APN has been offered in Uganda to Ugandan nationals and refugees. Distinct challenges faced by individuals in refugee settlements may influence APN utilization and effectiveness. To explore APN barriers and facilitators, we extracted index client and sexual partner data from APN registers at 11 health centers providing care to refugees and Ugandan nationals in West Nile Uganda and conducted qualitative interviews with health workers (N = 32). Since APN started, 882 index clients participated in APN identifying 1126 sexual partners. Following notification, 95% (1025/1126) of partners tested for HIV; 22% (230/1025) were diagnosed with HIV with 14% (139/1025) of tested partners newly diagnosed. Fear of stigma and disclosure-related violence limit APN utilization and effectiveness. Prospective research involving index clients and sexual partners is needed to facilitate safe APN optimization in refugee settlements.

Keywords: HIV; Mixed methods; Partner notification; Refugee; Uganda.

MeSH terms

  • Contact Tracing
  • HIV Infections* / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Refugees*
  • Sexual Partners
  • Uganda