Follow-Up Actions for Patients with Confirmed HIV-Positive Test Results

  • Ensure patient gets results of confirmatory test. When a patient has a reactive result on the rapid HIV screening, a second, confirmatory test must be conducted by a certified laboratory. If the second test is also positive, it is considered a final positive test result which needs to be provided to the patient. In New York State, a variety of settings offer HIV rapid screening and patients may not receive confirmed HIV test results from the provider who conducted the rapid screening. In such cases, a patient may be referred by the tester doing the screening to a care provider who will receive the HIV confirmatory test result from a certifiec laboratory.
  • Provide post-test counseling on the following topics or arrange for in-person post-test counseling for all patients who test HIV positive.
    1. coping with the consequences of learning the result;
    2. the potential for discrimination;
    3. preventing the transmission of HIV to others;
    4. HIV reporting is required by law;
    5. how to access prevention and supportive services. Outside of New York City, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Partner Services staff can also assist in providing post-test counseling. For more information on supportive services providers see "Living with HIV/AIDS".
  • The medical professional who receives a patient's confirmed positive HIV test result must provide an appointment or schedule an appointment for follow-up HIV medical care. If the provider does not provide HIV medical care, the patient's medical record should reflect the name of the medical provider/facility where the appointment was made.
  • Discuss options for notifying partners, contacts, and spouses, including screening for risk of domestic violence; or refer to a Partner Services/Notification Program.
  • Partner Services/Notification
  • Medical providers must explain to the patient with confirmed HIV the importance of notifying any sex partners or needle-sharing partners that they may have been exposed to the virus and the need to be tested. The NYSDOH and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDHMH) can help with partner notification. In some situations, a NYSDOH Partner Services Specialist can meet with the patient at the same time HIV-positive test result is given to assist with post-test counseling and development of a partner notification plan. More information on partner services is available online.

It is the responsibility of the health care provider who conducted the HIV test to complete the New York State Medical Provider HIV/AIDS and Partner/Contact Report Form (DOH-4189) for all cases with a confirmed positive test result.

Medical providers who receive a confirmed HIV-positive test result from a laboratory must use DOH-4189 to report the HIV case to the NYSDOH. Because laboratory reports do not include partner/contact, risk factors, and testing history information, medical providers must include this information on DOH-4189. This two-page document is a duplicate form, so it cannot be posted online as a PDF file. To order a supply of copies of DOH-4189, please call NYSDOH at (518) 474-4284.