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Sex Transm Dis. 2005 Mar;32(3):189-93.

Randomized trial of supplementary interviewing techniques to enhance recall of sexual partners in contact interviews.

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Interdisciplinary Scientific Research, Seattle, Washington 98115, USA.



People with multiple sex partners tend to forget a significant proportion when recalling them.


Randomized trial of supplementary interviewing techniques during routine partner notification contact interviews for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis in Colorado Springs, CO. Cases with multiple sex partners in the last 3 months (n = 123) participated. Interviewers prompted nonspecifically and read back the list of elicited partners after cases recalled partners on their own. We then randomly assigned cases to receive 1 of 3 sets of recall cues: (1) an experimental set of cues consisting of locations where people meet partners, role relationships, network ties, and first letters of names; (2) another experimental set including common first names; and (3) control cues referring to individual characteristics (e.g., physical appearance).


Nonspecific prompting and reading back the list each increased the number of additional partners elicited and located by 3% to 5% on average. On average, the combined location/role/letter/network cues elicited more additional partners (0.57) than did the first-name (0.29) and individual characteristics (0.28) cues. The location and first-name cues were the most effective in eliciting located partners. The supplementary techniques increased the number of new cases found by 12% and, importantly, identified branches of the sexual network that would not otherwise have been discovered.


Elicitation of sex partners can be enhanced in contact interviews with simple interviewing techniques, resulting in improved network ascertainment and sexually transmitted disease case finding.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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