- Zoanne Parillo
Partner Counseling and Referral Specialist
- Rhode Island Domestic Abuse Hotline
(Spanish speakers available)
Anyone who has unprotected sex or shares needles with an HIV positive person can be exposed to HIV and become infected. Up to one third of all people living with HIV are not aware that they have HIV. Getting tested and getting medical care is important. Earlier treatment can keep you healthier and decrease the chance of spreading HIV to partners.
Partners have a right to know that they have been exposed to HIV, so they can understand their risks, get tested, receive treatment, and avoid infecting other people. If your partner is pregnant, it is very important that she get medical care as soon as possible to lower the risk of passing HIV to the baby.
Talking to your partners about your HIV status is difficult, but help is available. Your healthcare provider can prepare you for talking to your partners about HIV. In some cases, your healthcare provider will even talk to your partner(s) with you.
If you decide you are not ready to notify your partners or you need help, a trained and experienced specialist at the Rhode Island Department of Health’s Partner Counseling and Referral Service (PCRS) can contact partners for you and let them know that they may have been exposed to HIV.
Our staff will never tell your partners your name, your gender, or the time period during which they may have been exposed to HIV. We will focus on their health risks, getting tested, and finding medical care.
Our goal is simple—to provide support and to prevent the spread of HIV. Our staff can:
People in care are less likely to spread HIV to others. (more)
Our staff will ask you about domestic violence and will not contact partners if your safety is an issue. You can also find violence prevention resources through the Rhode Island Violence Prevention Network or by calling the Rhode Island Domestic Abuse hotline at 1-800-494-8100 (Spanish speakers available).
Anyone who may have been exposed to HIV needs to be tested. (more) Testing is the only way to know if a partner has been infected. If a partner decides not to get tested for HIV, there is no way of knowing if he or she has HIV. HIV testing is not required so no one can make a partner get tested. If you are HIV positive, you play an important role in preventing HIV. The best response is to try to protect your partner from becoming infected.
Regardless of your partner's HIV status, use condoms every time and do not share needles or works. Condoms also protect you from other sexually transmitted infections, like syphilis and gonorrhea. (more)