Background: Partner notification (PN) is a key public health intervention to trace and treat asymptomatic sexual partners, prevent re-infection and complications of sexually transmitted infections. Despite all these benefits, the practice of PN and its determinants are not well studied in Ethiopia.
Methods: A nested case-control study was undertaken within a cohort of individuals with sexually transmitted infection (STI), attended at 27 public health facilities, in Tigray regional state from January to June, 2016. Self report of index cases (ICs) was validated using three months record review of similar complaints. Analysis of socio-demographic, behavioral and psychosocial factors related to PN was made and hierarchical binary logistic regression was employed. The odds ratios were estimated with the respective CI and p-values.
Results: From a cohort of 1082 cases attended for STIs care, 435 returned follow up and of these, 250 notified partners (57.5% at 95% CI:52.83, 62.12). As reported by ICs, about 65% of the notified partners have taken STI treatment. Males notify their partners lower than females (30% Vs 70%). Regular partners were more likely notified than casual (83% Vs 17%). Unable to locate partner and embracement were mentioned as major reasons for not notify partner. A statistically significant reduction in PN was seen among ICs: single (AOR= 0.33, CI=0.15, 0.73), casual partnership (AOR=0.33, C=0.15, 0.73), no knowledge of partner’s sexual behavior (AOR=0.43, CI=0.24, 0.77) and unwilling to notify partner (AOR=0.19, CI=(0.10, 0.36). The odds of PN increase with increasing level of education. Females face more partner reaction (47%).
Conclusions: The practice of PN is found low for male index cases and casual partners. PN was diversely affected by socio-demographic, behavioral and psychosocial factors. Intervention programs for sexually transmitted infections must address the identified barriers to improve PN. Thus, this reduces fear and stigma and motivates individuals to notify partners.