Background Partner notification (PN) is crucial for STI control. We developed SuggestATest.nl (SAT), an internet-based notification system for verified diagnoses of STI/HIV, that uses an index-chosen method per partner (email, text messaging, postal letter or a gay dating site; anonymous or non-anonymous). SAT was piloted at the Public Health STI clinics in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, the Netherlands. It was offered additional to counselling by the nurse.
Method We evaluated SAT use and effectiveness from March-July 2012. Numbers/method of sent SAT notifications were extracted from the SAT database, and epidemiological data from electronic patient records. Determinants for SAT use (age, sex, ethnicity, partners, STI) were assessed using logistic regression analysis.
Results Of 1184 index-clients receiving a SAT code, 160 (14%) notified through SAT. They sent 588 notifications (median 2), 82% by text messaging and 16% by email; 86% was non-anonymous. Univariate analysis of SAT use in heterosexuals showed that people with only 1 partner used SAT less often than others; this was the only significant predictor. In MSM, the STI diagnosed was the only significant univariate factor, with MSM with syphilis using SAT more often than MSM having other STI. Among all 67 SAT users in Rotterdam, 56% (225/402) of their eligible partners were notifiable, and 95% (213/225) of those were notified using SAT. In 17 MSM, 36% (87/239) of eligible partners were notifiable, and 97 (111% of 87) were notified in SAT. Of all notified partners, 56% entered SAT to see the STI they were notified for, and 20% visited the STI clinic in Amsterdam/Rotterdam. STI positivity in partners was lower in those notified by SAT (28%, n = 116) than in those with contact cards (45%, n = 152; p < 0.001).
Conclusion SAT is a valuable addition for supporting partner notification and management, although challenges as non-notifiable partners are not solved by SAT.
- partner notification verified diagnosis
- use and effectiveness
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