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Sex Health. 2016 Apr;13(2):162-9. doi: 10.1071/SH15136.

Survey of partner notification practices for sexually transmissible infections in the United States.

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Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.
Division of Infectious Diseases, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 1830 East Monument Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


Background Partner notification (PN) for sexually transmissible infections (STIs) is a vital STI control method. The most recent evaluation of PN practices in the United States, conducted in 1999, indicated that few STI patients were offered PN services. The objectives of this study were to obtain a preliminary understanding of the current provision of PN services in HIV/STI testing sites throughout the US and to determine the types of PN services available.


A convenience sample of 300 randomly selected testing sites was contacted to administer a phone survey about PN practices. These sites were from a large database maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sites were eligible to participate if they provided testing services for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV or syphilis and were not hospitals or Planned Parenthood locations.


Of the 300 eligible sites called, 79 sites were successfully reached, of which 74 agreed to participate, yielding a response rate of 24.7% and a cooperation rate of 93.7%. Most surveyed testing sites provided some form of PN service (anonymous or non-anonymous) on site or through an affiliate for chlamydia (100%), gonorrhoea (97%), HIV (91%) and syphilis (96%) infection. Anonymous PN services were available at 67-69% of sites. Only 6-9% of sites offered Internet-based PN services.


Most surveyed testing sites currently offer some type of PN service for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV or syphilis infection. However, approximately one-third of surveyed sites do not offer anonymous services. Novel, Internet-based methods may be warranted to increase the availability of anonymous services.

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