Partner Notification

Under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.H.7, part II, sections 5 and 7, and the 2019 Ontario Public Health Standards, all Public Health Departments in Ontario are required to ensure partners are notified.

Benefits & Importance of Partner Notification

  • allows partners who have been exposed to infection to seek early care and maintain their health
  • may keep partners who are infected from spreading the disease
  • reduces the incidence of serious complications

Definition of a Partner/Contact

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

  • a person engaging in unprotected penetrative sex or sharing needles (injection drug, piercing or tattooing) or works with the HIV+ individual
  • a person engaging in frequent protected penetrative sex with the HIV+ individual where an exposure may have occurred
  • a person engaging in any sexual or needle or works sharing activity with the HIV+ individual where the risk is uncertain
  • children of HIV+ women
  • any organization to which the HIV+ individual has donated blood, organs, breast milk or semen should be notified for trace-back to recipients of the donation

Trace all partners and contacts after their approximate date of infection. If it is not possible to establish a date of infection, HIV+ individuals should consider all unsafe sexual and needle-sharing partners, focusing particularly on those in the past ten years. Partners wanting an HIV test should be tested at 12 weeks and six months after their most recent risk exposure.

Chancroid

Sexual partners within previous two weeks.

Chlamydia & Gonorrhea

  • symptomatic cases – sexual partners within 60 days prior to onset of symptoms
  • asymptomatic cases – sexual partners within previous three months or last sexual partner if celibate in the last three months
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) – sexual partners within previous three months or last sexual partner if celibate in the last three months

Syphilis

  • primary – sexual partners three months prior to onset of symptoms*
  • secondary – sexual partners six months prior to onset of symptoms*
  • early latent – sexual partners one year before diagnosis*
  • late latent – marital partner, long-term partners and children
  • all stages – children born to confirmed cases

*partner may test negative if the time between last exposure and testing (window period) is less than one month. Patient will need to be retested two to four weeks after their last test.

Resource

Partner Notification Flow Chart