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BMC Public Health. 2012; 12: 533.
Published online Jul 20, 2012. doi:  10.1186/1471-2458-12-533
PMCID: PMC3413611
Tracing sexual contacts of HIV-infected individuals in a rural prefecture, Eastern China
Haijiang Lin,1,2,3 Na He,corresponding author1,2 Yingying Ding,1,2,4 Danhong Qiu,3 Weiming Zhu,1,2,4 Xing Liu,1,2,4 Tiejun Zhang,1,2 and Roger Detels4
1Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
2The Key Laboratory of Public Health Safety of Ministry of Education, Shanghai, China
3Taizhou City Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Taizhou city of Zhejiang Province, Taizhou, China
4Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Haijiang Lin: linhaijiang/at/hotmail.com; Na He: nhe/at/shmu.edu.cn; Yingying Ding: yingyding/at/gmail.com; Danhong Qiu: tzqdh/at/163.com; Weiming Zhu: wmzhu/at/ucla.edu; Xing Liu: liuxingfd/at/gmail.com; Tiejun Zhang: tjzhangsh/at/gmail.com; Roger Detels: detels/at/ucla.edu
Received January 25, 2012; Accepted June 30, 2012.
Abstract
Background
Contact tracing is especially useful for identifying an infection with few cases in the population, such as HIV in China. Little such research is available in China.
Methods
Every newly diagnosed HIV case from 2008–2010 in Taizhou Prefecture, Zhejiang Province in China, was invited to participate as an “index case” in a contact tracing survey by providing contact information for up to eight sexual contacts who themselves were approached for voluntary HIV counseling and testing (VCT). Those who tested HIV-positive were then subjected to another contact tracing survey. This process was repeated until no more sexual contacts were reported or tested positive.
Results
A total of 463 HIV-infected individuals were newly identified during the study period, including 338 cases who were identified from routine surveillance programs and 125 cases who were identified from the present contact tracing survey. Among these 463 cases, 398 (86.0%) served as ‘index cases’ in the survey, including 290 (85.8%) out of the 338 cases identified from routine surveillance programs and 108 (86.4%) out of the 125 cases identified from the present survey. These 398 ‘index cases’ reported a total of 1,403 contactable sexual contacts, of whom 320 (22.8%) received HIV testing and 125 (39.1%) tested positive for HIV. Willingness to receive HIV testing was high among spouses and long term heterosexual or homosexual partners but extremely low among casual and commercial sex partners of ‘index cases’. Consistent condom use was rare for all participants. A total of 290 independent sexual network components were constructed, with high complexity.
Conclusion
Contact tracing is useful for identifying new HIV infections from spouses or long term sexual partners of HIV-infected individuals. The complicated sexual networks existing between and beyond HIV-infected persons provide opportunities for rapid spread of HIV in such areas.
Keywords: Contact tracing, Sexual behavior, Sexual networks, HIV testing, HIV infection
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