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December 9, 1988

Contact Tracing to Control the Spread of HIV

Author Affiliations

Colorado Department of Health Denver

Colorado Department of Health Denver

JAMA. 1988;260(22):3274. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410220058014

To the Editor.—  Thank you for publishing the excellent description by Wykoff et al1 of the successful use of contact tracing in the prevention of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. The South Carolina state health department group reported substantial changes in the sexual behavior of homosexual men who were located and educated. Not only did the process work well, but two measurable outcomes were clearly beneficial. Among the persons counseled, both the mean numbers of sexual contacts and the use of condoms were notably changed following the counseling.By almost any criteria, their intervention was a successful one: (1) a large number of partners were located and counseled—though certainly not all; (2) individuals not previously diagnosed were found to be infected, including two female contacts of a bisexual man; and (3) the intervention benefited homosexual men and their partners who had not previously been influenced by general educational messages about safer