Partner notification among men who have sex with men and heterosexuals with STI/HIV: different outcomes and challenges

Int J STD AIDS. 2015 Jul;26(8):565-73. doi: 10.1177/0956462414547398. Epub 2014 Aug 19.


Partner notification effectiveness among index clients diagnosed with HIV, syphilis and/or gonorrhoea at sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinics was evaluated between 2010 and 2012. We explored percentages of identifiable, notified and tested partners by sexual preference and gender. Partner notification trends were studied using the national STI database. Men who have sex with men (n = 304), heterosexual men (n = 33) and women (n = 35) reported, respectively, 6.7, 3.8 and 2.3 partners per index. Percentages of identifiable partners differed between groups (men who have sex with men: 46%, heterosexual men: 63%, women: 87%, p < 0.001). The percentage of notified partners (of those identifiable) was lowest for heterosexual men (76%; men who have sex with men: 92%; women: 83%; p < 0.001). STI positivity rates among notified partners were high: 33%-50% depending on sexual preference. Among men who have sex with men, having HIV was associated with not notifying all identifiable partners. Percentages of notified clients at STI clinics increased between 2010 and 2012: from 13% to 19% among men who have sex with men, from 13% to 18% among heterosexual men and from 8% to 11% among women (p < 0.001 for all groups). The percentage of STI/HIV detected through partner notification increased among men who have sex with men (from 22% to 30%) and women (from 25% to 29%; p < 0.001). Unidentifiable partners among men who have sex with men, lower partner notification effectiveness for HIV and the relative large proportion of heterosexual men not notifying their partners appear to be important partner notification challenges.

Keywords: HIV; Partner notification; contact tracing; heterosexuals; men who have sex with men; sexually transmitted infection; sexually transmitted infection clinic.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Contact Tracing / trends*
  • Female
  • Gonorrhea / diagnosis
  • Gonorrhea / transmission*
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis
  • HIV Infections / transmission*
  • Heterosexuality / statistics & numerical data*
  • Homosexuality, Male / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Netherlands
  • Pilot Projects
  • Population Surveillance
  • Registries
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual Partners*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology
  • Syphilis / diagnosis
  • Syphilis / transmission*
  • Young Adult