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Community-Embedded Disease Intervention Specialist Program for Syphilis Partner Notification in a Clinic Serving Men Who Have Sex With Men

Rudy, Ellen T. PhD*; Aynalem, Getahun MD, MPH*; Cross, John BA; Ramirez, Frank BA*; Bolan, Robert K. MD; Kerndt, Peter R. MD, MPH*

doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0b013e3182593b51
Original Study

Background/Objectives: We evaluated the effectiveness of a Community-Embedded Disease Intervention Specialist (CEDIS) in providing partner notification (PN) for primary syphilis cases in a high STD morbidity, community-based clinic serving men who have sex with men in Los Angeles.

Methods: The CEDIS was trained by the same standards as the local health department Disease Investigator Specialists but was employed by and stationed at the clinic where the primary cases were diagnosed. We compared the CEDIS on specific PN outcomes before and after placement of the CEDIS and among countywide men who have sex with men primary syphilis cases, excluding the cases from the CEDIS clinic.

Results: In 2009–2010 after placement of the CEDIS, 100% (87) of primary cases assigned were interviewed; 28% (26) on the same day as their clinic visit and 64% (59) within 7 days. In 2006–2007 before placement of the CEDIS, 67% (43) of primary cases assigned were interviewed; only 2% (1) were interviewed within 7 days. In 2009–2010 countywide, 9% (21) of 252 primary cases assigned were interviewed on the same day as their clinic visit; 18% (45) within 7 days. After placement of the CEDIS, 15% (21) of 140 partners elicited were identified with early syphilis and brought to treatment compared with 0% of 13 partners elicited before placement of the CEDIS, and 15% (25) of 171 partners elicited countywide.

Conclusion: The CEDIS program fosters key elements to a successful PN program, such as prompt interviewing of newly diagnosed cases and community trust.

From the *Los Angeles County Division of HIV/STD Programs, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA; and Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center, Los Angeles, CA

The authors thank for the insightful comments from an anonymous reviewer during the submission process.

All authors certify that their affiliations or financial involvement with any organization do not conflict with the subject matter of the paper.

Correspondence: Ellen T. Rudy, PhD, Los Angeles County Division of HIV/STD Programs, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, 2615 S. Grand Ave, Room 500, Los Angeles, CA 90007. E-mail: erudy@ph.lacounty.gov.

Received for publication November 16, 2011, and accepted April 5, 2012.

© Copyright 2012 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association