Introduction Partner Notification (PN) is an essential strategy for sexually transmitted infection (STI) control, but both policies and methods of implementation vary among countries. Using syphilis as a case study, we investigated the Chilean policy regulations relating to PN and examined the effect of these policies in the field.
Methods Qualitative techniques were used to gain insights into current Chilean policies related to syphilis management and control, and to understand the nuances of delivering PN in the current system. The latest national standards/policies with the words “STIs” or “syphilis” in the title were analysed. 48 semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted with healthcare providers (HCP). A third of the interviews were transcribed verbatim and translated from Spanish to English for thematic analysis, which followed an inductive approach based on grounded theory. Following the identification of themes, remaining interviews were coded utilising a method of constant comparison to highlight concordance and dissonance of participant views.
Results A total of six documents met the inclusion criteria. While syphilis prevention is highlighted in them, PN was barely acknowledged as a necessary activity to reduce the risk of transmission and reinfection. No document provided detailed information about PN strategies. HCP recognised PN as an essential strategy for STI control; however, they identified a lack of available guidelines and resources to ensure best practice. Additionally, the PN strategies currently undertaken are inconsistent and varied across services.
Conclusion Strengthening policies at a local and national level to reinforce PN should be considered by Chilean authorities. A priority action plan which includes training of HCP in PN and a strong support network for efficient delivery of PN would both enhance STI control and the long-term impact of existing policies.
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