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Commun Dis Public Health. 2002 Dec;5(4):271-5.

Doncaster: the public health response to a local cluster of heterosexually acquired HIV infection.

Author information

1
Doncaster Health Authority, Doncaster, South Yorkshire. ken.allen@doncastereastpct.nhs.uk

Abstract

In recent years, clusters of sexually transmitted HIV infection have attracted some media prominence in the UK. We describe our response to a local HIV cluster of five cases that acquired a high media profile. Practical difficulties encountered included: ensuring medical confidentiality in an outbreak control team which included many professional groups; handling a large volume of helpline calls; differing views on how specific health promotion should be; and the impact of summer leave on the control team's continuity. Following publicity, two further cases of HIV infection were found, bringing the total cluster to seven. Both later cases named the man at the centre of the cluster as a sexual partner. Of these two cases, one was local, identified as a direct result of the campaign. The other, living 170 miles distant in London, was identified as a result of increased media awareness. Eventually, the press named the man they thought to be the source case, which the outbreak control team had avoided doing. Good inter-disciplinary working made a co-ordinated public health response possible, and the 1,600 helpline calls dealt with served to reassure the public. Over 1,000 of the callers were advised to contact the Genito Urinary Medicine (GUM) department of their local hospital for counselling and testing of whom 772 took the advice. However, the longer-term effect on sexual behaviour was minimal as evidence by a subsequent survey.

PMID:
12564239
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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