Objective: Quantify the factors associated with reporting sexual partners only known by, or able to be contacted by, an e-mail address (pseudonymous partners) and evaluate the efforts of provider partner notification when only an e-mail address was available.
Study design: Persons with pseudonymous e-mail sexual partners were compared with unmatched controls. Associations were quantified by odds ratios and the effectiveness of provider partner notification attempts was assessed by comparison of outcomes of pseudonymous e-mail sexual partners and sexual partners with traditional contact information.
Results: Factors associated with having pseudonymous e-mail sexual partners included: male sex, white non-Hispanic, history of prior sexually transmitted diseases, multiple sexual partners, and reporting male-to-male sexual contact. Efforts at provider partner notification via e-mail were successful with 49.7% of pseudonymous partners notified and 40.1% evaluated.
Conclusions: Internet-based forms of communications can be utilized as means to contact and identify risk partners. If this avenue is not utilized, public health agencies may be unable to intervene with a potentially growing percentage of at-risk persons.