Background: Little is known about the scope of current public health partner-notification (PN) activities in the United States.
Goal: The goal of the study was to define what PN services U.S. health departments provide in areas with high STD/HIV-related morbidity.
Study design: The study involved a survey of STD program staff members in U.S. areas with the highest reported rates of infectious syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and HIV in 1998.
Results: Staff members of 60 (77%) of 78 health departments provided data. PN interviews were conducted with 7583 (89%) of 8492 cases of syphilis, 23,097 (17%) of 139,287 cases of gonorrhea, and 26,487 (12%) of 228,210 cases of chlamydia. In areas with mandatory HIV reporting, 4375 (52%) of 8328 persons infected with HIV were interviewed for PN.
Conclusions: Except for patients with syphilis, public health PN services affect only a minority of persons with STD or HIV infection in high-morbidity areas of the United States.