Background: While expedited partner treatment and provider assisted referral are options for STD partner notification, legal complications and budget limitations cause patient referral to remain the most commonly used strategy. Most research on patient referral has been done among women and few have examined how relationship factors influence notification rates beyond main/casual. This purpose of this study was to examine partner notification rates in a population of heterosexual men treated for Chlamydia trachomatis (Ct) at a STD clinic in New Orleans, LA.
Methods: Heterosexual men attending an STD clinic in New Orleans, who were treated with 1 g azithromycin for Ct were re-tested at 1 month. Participants completed an ACASI survey at baseline and follow-up eliciting detailed behavioral information surrounding all female sexual partners in the past 2 months.
Results: At baseline, 350 men were Ct+ and 65.4% returned for follow up. These 229 men identified 435 female partners at baseline, of which they reported notifying 319 (73.3%). Frequency of partner notification varied by partner type and ranged from 57.4% of one night stands to 89.7% of girlfriends and similarly from 61.9% of casual partners to 88.8% of main partners. At baseline, patients believed that they could contact 84.1% partners, that they would have sex with 54.1% again and that 45.5% of partners were infected. In univariate analysis, patients were more likely to notify partners perceived as infected (OR 2.15, 95% CI 1.29-3.59), partners they believed they would have sex with again (OR 2.89, 95% CI 1.76-4.73) and partners they thought were contactable (OR 3.87, 95% CI 2.08-7.18).
Conclusions: Partner level factors are associated with partner notification. Identifying and utilizing these factors to better council patients could possibly improve patient referral and subsequent partner treatment which is vital to reducing further transmission, repeat infections and serious sequelae in women.