Background: Little is known about how men who have sex with men (MSM) exposed to a sexually transmitted infection respond to receiving patient-delivered partner therapy (PDPT) or electronic partner notification postcards (e-cards).
Methods: We anonymously surveyed MSM in a sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinic and a private medical practice. Three scenarios were presented in which participants had oral or anal sex with a new partner and were subsequently notified of a chlamydia or gonorrhea exposure and offered PDPT by the partner. A fourth scenario described partner notification via an anonymous inSPOT e-card. We asked participants if they would see a doctor, test for HIV/STD, and/or notify other partners in each situation.
Results: Among 198 MSM, the percentage indicating that they would seek a medical evaluation was higher when scenarios described proctitis (97%–98%) versus pharyngitis (84%) or no symptoms (84%–89%). In the absence of symptoms, men indicated that they would be less likely to seek care (62% vs. 84%–88%, P < 0.0001) and notify partners (85% vs. 69%, P < 0.0001) if notified via an anonymous e-card than if notified directly by a partner. Approximately half reported that they would use PDPT provided by a partner. In the absence of symptoms, men who indicated that they would use PDPT reported that they would seek medical care less frequently than men who indicated that they would not take PDPT (74% vs. 92% [P = 0.0007 for oral sex exposure] 82% vs. 94%–94% [P = 0.01 or unprotected anal sex exposure]).
Conclusions: Although many MSM express interest in using PDPT and anonymous e-cards, these methods may result in missed opportunities to test for HIV and other STDs.