Counselling around all stages of HIV infection is important for those infected and affected with HIV disease. Partner notification may promote safer sexual practices and increase HIV-related serial support which might in turn prompt the psychological adjustment to a terminal illness. This paper describes the counselling service used at the Royal Free Hospital's HIV Unit and explores the notification patterns of an HIV diagnosis to family, partners and significant others. Retrospective data was abstracted from counselling notes for 100 HIV-positive patients attending the unit for the first time between November 1995 and March 1996. The majority of the sample were gay males who tested from 1995 onwards. Most patients tested at the Same Day Testing Clinic (SDTC) were gay males. In contrast, patients who tested elsewhere were more likely to be females. Rates of pre- and post-test counselling were high and the majority (85% of the patients had notified a family member, partner or significant other. Few significant differences in demographics were found between those who had notified others and those who had not, although patients who had been diagnosed more recently were less likely to have notified other family members. The implication of the results are discussed.