Background: Partner notification (PN) is an essential component of syphilis control and is recommended by Chinese Sexually Transmitted Disease guidelines. However, in China, studies examining local practice are limited. This study evaluated PN outcomes among persons with early syphilis infection in an urban district in China.
Methods: From 2011 to 2017, persons diagnosed with early syphilis were asked to participate in an evaluation of supportive patient referral partner services for all recent sex partners, and the contact and case finding indices were determined in Nanshan District, Shenzhen, China.
Results: During the study period, 642 index patients with early syphilis reported 1749 sex partners. Of those partners, 678 were potentially contactable and 525 (30%) were contacted. The overall contact index was 0.82. Among the 1749 partners reported, 1108 (63%) were described as casual partners, and only 37 (3%) were contacted (contact index 0.13) compared with 641 partners who were either spouses and regular partners (contact index, 1.37). Among those 525 partners contacted, 418 (80%) were tested, and 205 (39%) were diagnosed with and treated for syphilis. Among those, 9 (4%) were primary, 26 (13%) were secondary, 16 (8%) were early latent, and 154 (49%) were other syphilis infections. The overall case finding index was 0.29.
Conclusions: There is a need to improve PN practices in China, which include developing operational guidelines of PN and to develop and evaluate novel PN ways like using Internet-based strategy.