Background: Timely notification and treatment of sex partners exposed to a sexually transmitted disease (STD) is essential to reduce reinfection and transmission. Our objectives were to determine factors associated with patient-initiated notification of sex partners and preferences regarding standard partner referral versus expedited partner therapy (EPT).
Methods: Participants diagnosed with gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, or nongonococcal urethritis within the previous year were administered a baseline survey asking about demographics, sexual history, and partner treatment preferences (standard partner referral vs. EPT). They identified up to 4 sex partners within the past 2 months, and answered questions on relationship characteristics, quality, and notification self-efficacy. At follow-up, participants with a current STD were asked whether they notified their partners. Generalized estimating equations were used to evaluate the associations between predictor variables and partner notification.
Results: Of the 201 subjects enrolled, 157 had a current STD diagnosis, and 289 sex partners were identified. The rate of successful partner notification was 77.3% (157/203 sex partners). Partner notification was increased if the subject had a long-term relationship with a sex partner (odds ratio: 3.07; 95% confidence interval: 1.43, 6.58), considered the partner to be a main partner (odds ratio: 2.53; 95% confidence interval: 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.
Conclusions: Patient-initiated partner referral is more successful in patients with increased self-efficacy who have stronger interpersonal relationships with their sex partners.