Sex Transm Infect 87:415-419 doi:10.1136/sti.2010.047985
  • Health services research

Assessing the effectiveness of a patient-driven partner notification strategy among pregnant women infected with syphilis in Bolivia

  1. Tahilin Sanchez2
  1. 1National Institute of Public Health of Mexico, Mexico Research Center on Health Population, Mexico City, Mexico
  2. 2The Population Council, Mexico
  3. 3The Population Council, Bolivia
  1. Correspondence to Claudia Diaz Olavarrieta, National Institute of Public Health, Mexico Research Center on Health Population, 7a Cerrada Fray Pedro de Gante # 50, Col. Seccion XVI, Tlalpan, Mexico City 14000, Mexico; colavarrieta{at}
  1. Contributors CDO, KW and SGG conceived this study and prepared the first draft of the manuscript. JV reviewed first draft and carried out data analysis. FT and TS carried out data collection and analysis in consultation with the rest of the study team and reviewed drafts of the manuscript.

  • Accepted 21 February 2011
  • Published Online First 2 April 2011


Objective Assess the feasibility and acceptability of a patient-led syphilis partner notification strategy among pregnant women with syphilis, their male partners and treatment completion in Bolivia.

Methods In four provinces, women who had tested positive for syphilis while attending antenatal care visits were recruited to receive a partner notification (PN) intervention on how to notify partners of their positive diagnosis and encourage them to get tested/treated. All women who completed PN counselling and notified their male partners completed self-administered questionnaires regarding PN experiences. Sociodemographic characteristics associated with notification and partner treatment completion were assessed using bivariate and multivariate analyses.

Results 144 women and 137 male partners participated; 78% women notified their partners. No women characteristics were significantly associated with PN. Significantly more male partners (85%) who were notified by women completed syphilis treatment (p<0.05) compared to those notified by providers (66%). In multivariate analysis, men notified by female partners had a threefold greater odds of treatment completion compared to men who had not been notified by partners or by someone else (ie, healthcare worker) (OR 3.45, 95% CI 1.21 to 9.90). 86% of women and 80% of men completed syphilis treatment. Our results suggest that lack of time was considered a barrier to care among men who did not complete treatment.

Conclusion A patient-led partner notification strategy for pregnant women and their male partners appears to be feasible and acceptable, providing evidence for larger-scale effectiveness studies to improve male partner treatment compliance.


  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Population Council's Institutional Review Board.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.