Sex Transm Infect 81:271-275 doi:10.1136/sti.2004.012872
  • Behaviour

Knowledge of sex partner treatment for past bacterial STI and risk of current STI

  1. L M Niccolai1,
  2. J R Ickovics1,
  3. K Zeller2,
  4. T S Kershaw1,
  5. S Milan1,
  6. J B Lewis1,
  7. K A Ethier3
  1. 1Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS, New Haven, CT, USA
  2. 2Yale University School of Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, New Haven, CT, USA
  3. 3Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of STD Prevention, Behavioral Intervention Research Branch, New Haven, CT, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Linda M Niccolai
 PhD, Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, 60 College Street, PO Box 208034, New Haven, CT 06520–8034, USA;
  • Accepted 21 September 2004


Objectives: Effective partner management is critical in reducing the spread of bacterial sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The purpose of this study was to determine the relation between knowledge of partner treatment for a past STI and current infection in the index patient.

Methods: In a cross sectional analysis, 97 adolescent females sampled from community based health clinics reported that they had a past diagnosis of chlamydia or gonorrhoea in structured, face to face interviews. At the time of the interview, adolescents were also tested for chlamydia and gonorrhoea using urine based ligase chain reaction testing.

Results: 66% of the adolescents reported knowing that their partner was treated for the past infection. Those who knew their partner was treated were less likely to have a current infection, compared to those who did not know (11% v 30%, adjusted odds ratio and 95% confidence interval 4.46 (1.41 to 14.29), p<0.05). Correlates of not knowing the sex partner was treated included younger age and being in new sex partnership.

Conclusions: Efforts to encourage young women to follow up directly with their partners regarding treatment may help to reduce repeat infections and further spread. Furthermore, alternative strategies such as patient delivered therapy may help with partner treatment in this vulnerable population.


  • Competing interests: none declared.

  • The Human Investigations Committees at Yale University School of Medicine (New Haven, CT, USA), and at all participating clinics approved access to and analyses of these data.