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Initial evaluation of use of an online partner notification tool for STI, called ‘suggest a test’: a cross sectional pilot study
  1. Hannelore M Götz1,2,
  2. Martijn S van Rooijen3,
  3. Pjer Vriens1,
  4. Eline Op de Coul4,
  5. Mariette Hamers1,
  6. Titia Heijman3,
  7. Francine van den Heuvel3,
  8. Rik Koekenbier3,
  9. A Petra van Leeuwen3,
  10. Helene A C M Voeten1,2
  1. 1Department Infectious Disease Control, Public Health Service Rotterdam-Rijnmond, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Public Health, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  3. 3Department of Infectious Diseases, Public Health Service Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  4. 4Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit, Centre for Infectious Disease Control, National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Dr H M Götz, Department Infectious Disease Control, Public Health Service Rotterdam-Rijnmond, PO Box 70032, Rotterdam 3000 LP, The Netherlands; hm.gotz{at}rotterdam.nl

Abstract

Objectives Partner notification is crucial for sexually transmitted infection (STI) control. We developed Suggestatest.nl (SAT), an internet-based notification system for verified diagnoses of STI/HIV.

Methods SAT uses email, short message service, postal letter or a gay dating site to notify sexual contacts. SAT was piloted at the Public Health STI clinics in two major cities in the Netherlands. We evaluated SAT from March to July 2012 by analysing SAT notifications linked with epidemiological data. Determinants for SAT use were assessed using multivariable logistic regression analysis.

Results Of 988 index clients receiving a SAT code, overall 139 (14%) notified through SAT, sending 505 notifications (median 2), 84% by text messaging and 15% by email; 88% non-anonymously. Of those intending to use SAT, 23% notified with SAT. Intention to use SAT was the only independent determinant of SAT use in heterosexuals and men who have sex with men. Among the 67 SAT users in Rotterdam, 56% (225/402) of their partners at risk were contactable, and 95% (213/225) of those were notified using SAT. 58% of SAT-notified partners accessed the SAT-website and 20% of them subsequently consulted the STI clinics. STI positivity in partners was lower in those notified by SAT (28% (32/116)) than in those with contact cards (45% (68/152); p<0.001).

Conclusions Although the challenges posed by non-contactable partners are not solved by SAT, it is a valuable novel tool for notification of verified STI diagnoses by index patients and providers. In addition to current standard partner notification practice it suits a small number of clients, especially those reporting more than one partner.

  • Partner Notification
  • Public Health
  • Health Serv Research

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