Contact tracing has always been a vital element in the control of sexually transmitted disease (STD), and the early full time contact tracers were more effective than doctors in this work. Those appointed to the early posts had to train themselves and they concentrated on contact tracing. Training has now improved, and most contact tracers in Britain, now called Health Advisers in STD, have attended a full time five day residential training course, and it is hoped that better courses may be developed. A handbook has been produced and widely circulated. The Society of Health Advisers in STD holds regular regional meetings and an annual conference. Health advisers may discover personal problems and have an important role in education, both of which activities are covered in their role specification. Health advisers in STD have developed from contact tracers to undertake a broad range of functions, but the question is asked whether they could contribute to other aspects of health care within the clinic.
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