Partner notification for sexually transmitted diseases

Clin Infect Dis. 2007 Apr 1;44 Suppl 3:S160-74. doi: 10.1086/511429.


Partner notification, a principal means of controlling sexually transmitted diseases, has traditionally been performed by public health professionals. They interview infected persons and contact the sex partners of these persons to notify them and convince them of the need to seek evaluation and treatment (known as "provider referral"). This notification method is labor intensive; the typical alternative to provider referral is to leave notification to the infected person (known as "patient referral"). However, innovations in partner notification, often created by public health professionals responsible for the practice, have yielded adjuncts and complements to both provider and patient referral. The present review article covers 4 areas of innovation: (1) enhancements to patient referral instructions and provider interview techniques, (2) use of the Internet in partner notification, (3) the emerging influence of network methods, and (4) expedited partner therapy, principally through patient-delivered medications or prescriptions. Partner notification remains necessary, and flexibility, openness to the use of multiple methods, and collaboration are likely to be helpful.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Contact Tracing / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / transmission*