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Evaluation of a video based health education strategy to improve sexually transmitted disease partner notification in South Africa
  1. C Mathews1,
  2. S J Guttmacher2,
  3. N Coetzee3,
  4. S Magwaza3,
  5. J Stein4,
  6. C Lombard5,
  7. S Goldstein6,
  8. D Coetzee7
  1. 1Health Systems Unit, South African Medical Research Council and Department of Public Health, University of Cape Town, South Africa
  2. 2Department of Health Studies, New York University, USA
  3. 3Department of Public Health, University of Cape Town, South Africa
  4. 4Centre for Health Policy, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
  5. 5Biostatistics Unit, South African Medical Research Council, South Africa
  6. 6Soul City, Institute of Urban Primary Health Care at Alexandra Health Centre and University Clinic, South Africa
  7. 7Health Systems Trust, South Africa
  1. Correspondence to:
 Catherine Mathews, Medical Research Council, PO Box 19070, Tygerberg, 7505, South Africa;


Objectives: To evaluate the feasibility and impact of a health education intervention promoting partner notification for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Methods: The research setting was a busy public health clinic in a rural district in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. A before/after quantitative study design was used to measure the effect of an audiovisual presentation of a compelling love drama, posters, and pamphlets. Measures collected from all consenting STD index patients during a 6 week pre-intervention (control) phase were compared with those collected during a 6 week intervention phase. A qualitative evaluation assessed whether the intervention accurately portrayed the intended educational messages.

Results: 150 index patients (55% female) were interviewed in the control phase and 185 index patients (64% female) in the intervention phase. The intervention phase showed improvements on several measures of self efficacy about notifying casual partners, such as a belief among index patients that a greater proportion of their casual partners would see the importance of seeking treatment as a result of their notification interaction. The rate of contact cards returned per index patient was 0.27 in the intervention phase, compared with 0.20 in the control phase (95% CI for the rate difference: −0.05, 0.17). The qualitative research found that the intervention was thoroughly enjoyed by patients and clinicians, but a fundamental problem with it was that patients received confused messages about the relation between HIV/AIDS and other STDs. This has potentially negative consequences for partner notification.

Conclusion: The intervention needs further development, and then could provide a highly acceptable, cost effective model for health education in clinics in developing countries.

  • sexually transmitted diseases
  • partner notification
  • health education
  • HIV prevention
  • intervention study
  • South Africa

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