Noting that timely notification and treatment of sex partners exposed to an STD "is essential to reduce re-infection and transmission," the authors undertook the current study to determine factors associated with patient-initiated partner notification and preferences for standard partner referral versus expedited partner therapy (EPT).
A baseline survey was administered to patients diagnosed in the previous year with gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis or nongonococcal urethritis. The survey collected information about demographics, sexual history, and partner treatment preferences (standard partner referral vs. EPT). Participants identified up to four sex partners in the past two months, and they answered questions about relationship characteristics, quality, and notification self-efficacy. At follow-up, patients with a current STD were asked whether they had notified their sex partners. Associations between predictor variables and partner notification were evaluated using generalized estimating equations.
A total of 201 subjects were enrolled; 157 had a current STD diagnosis; and they identified 289 sex partners. The rate of successful partner notification was 77.3 percent (157/203 sex partners). Partner notification was increased if the patient was in a long-term relationship with the partner (odds ratio: 3.07; 95 percent confidence interval: 1.43, 6.58); considered the partner to be his/her main partner (odds ratio: 2.53; 95 percent CI: 1.43; 6.58); or had increased notification self-efficacy.
"Overall, participants did not prefer EPT over standard referral; however, females, those with higher education levels, and those with a prior STD preferred EPT," the authors reported. "Patient-initiated partner referral is more successful in patients with increased self-efficacy who have stronger interpersonal relationships with their sex partners."