Intended for healthcare professionals


Partner notification for the control of sexually transmitted infections

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 18 September 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:633
  1. Sarah Hawkes, lecturer (,
  2. David Mabey, professor,
  3. Phillippe Mayaud, senior lecturer
  1. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT

    Effectiveness in resource poor countries is unproved

    Partner notification (also termed partner management or contact tracing in some settings) is a well established public health activity in programmes to control sexually transmitted infection.1 The approach is based on the premise that the sexual partners of people with sexually transmitted infections are likely to be infected but may be asymptomatic and may not otherwise seek care. Partners can be reached through several different strategies including those led by infected “index” patients (patient led), by health providers (provider led), or by a combination of approaches (conditional referral–index patients are encouraged to ensure that partners attend by an agreed date, after which the provider will notify the partner). The public health objectives of each of these strategies are the same: to increase the coverage of care of sexually transmitted infections–by identifying and when necessary treating those people known to be at high risk for …

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