Using e-mail to notify pseudonymous e-mail sexual partners

Sex Transm Dis. 2007 Nov;34(11):840-5. doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0b013e318073bd5d.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Confidentiality*
  • Contact Tracing / methods*
  • Contact Tracing / statistics & numerical data
  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Electronic Mail*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Population Surveillance
  • Program Evaluation
  • Public Health Informatics
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / etiology
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Texas / epidemiology