Intimate partner violence and partner notification of sexually transmitted infections among adolescent and young adult family planning clinic patients

Int J STD AIDS. 2011 Jun;22(6):345-7. doi: 10.1258/ijsa.2011.010425.


Patient-initiated partner notification of sexually transmitted infection (STI), i.e. patients informing their sexual partners of a diagnosis, is a cornerstone of STI prevention. Growing evidence suggests that women exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV) may fear such notification, or face negative consequences in response to STI disclosure. The current study assessed associations of IPV with fear of partner notification, and experiences of partner notification, among adolescent and young adult female family planning clinic patients. Women aged 16-29 years attending five family planning clinics in Northern California, USA (n = 1282) participated in a cross-sectional survey. A history of physical or sexual IPV was associated with fear of partner notification. Moreover, participants exposed to IPV were more likely to have partners say that it was not from them or otherwise accuse them of cheating in response to partner notification. Such partners were less likely to seek indicated STI treatment or testing. Current findings suggest that partner notification for STI may be compromised by IPV. Clinical practices and policies to support effective partner notification should include IPV assessment, and provide mechanisms to address related fears concerning partner notification.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Contact Tracing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Domestic Violence / psychology
  • Domestic Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Fear / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Sex Offenses / psychology
  • Sex Offenses / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexual Partners
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / psychology