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DIS are required to verify the identity of the person they are speaking with before disclosing any private health information. DIS verify identity by confirming your birthday. Your personal health information is protected by the medical privacy law, HIPAA, so DIS will never reveal your private health information to anyone but you.
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When someone tests positive for a sexually transmitted infection (STI) a Disease Intervention Specialist (DIS) will offer Partner Services. These are free and confidential sexual health services offered by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). Partner services are offered to people who test positive for certain STIs, including syphilis, HIV, and monkeypox. Partner Services are offered to help prevent the spread of STIs and to prevent people who have been treated for STIs from getting infected again.
DIS contact people with STIs and their sex partners to:
· Answer their questions about STIs
· Help connect people with treatment if they have not already been treated
· Notify partners they may have been exposed to an STI
· Help partners get tested and treated for STIs
DIS reach out to people in several ways, including phone calls, social media, and in-person visits. If a DIS contacts you to offer Partner Services or notify you of a possible STI exposure, you may ask to speak with a supervisor to verify their identity. You may also request that DIS show you their health department badge or business card. Here (https://www.kdhe.ks.gov/1917/Disease-Intervention-Specialist-Map) you can find a list of all DIS in Kansas, including their phone numbers
No. A DIS will never disclose your information to any of your partners, including your name, gender, or when they may have been exposed. All information discussed during Partner Services is confidential and protected by HIPAA.
Yes, you can tell your partners that you have an STI and encourage them to go to their health care provider for testing and treatment. DIS may still ask for your partner’s information so that they can follow up with them to answer any questions they may have and to help connect them with the correct testing and treatment. DIS can help you plan and practice what to say to your partners. If you do not feel safe telling your partners yourself and fear a negative or dangerous reaction, a DIS can tell them for you while still protecting your identity.
Even if you are treated and your partners have no symptoms, there is still a chance they have the STI. If your partners are not treated for STIs, they may be able to infect you again. Even if you do not plan on having sex with that partner again, it is still important for them to be tested so they don’t infect someone else. Many STIs can be very serious if left untreated, and people deserve to know if they may have been infected. Then they can get treatment as soon as possible and avoid passing the infection on to others.
DIS offer partner services to make sure that everyone who may have been exposed to an STI is offered the correct information, testing, and treatment. STIs can be very severe if left untreated, sometimes causing blindness, brain and organ damage, or even death. If they have an untreated infection, they may spread the infection back to you or to others, including unborn and newborn babies if they are pregnant. DIS will never tell your partners any of your personal information.
Just as a DIS will not disclose any of your personal health information to anyone but you, DIS also cannot disclose the private health information of the person who tested positive for an STI due to HIPAA (https://www.cdc.gov/phlp/publications/topic/hipaa.html).The person who named you cared about you enough to provide your information to the DIS so that you can tested and treated for STIs, which can be very serious if untreated.