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Alternative strategies for partner notification: a missing piece of the puzzle
  1. Mark Gilbert1,2,
  2. Travis Salway Hottes1
  1. 1Online Sexual Health Services, BC Centre for Disease Control, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  2. 2School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Mark Gilbert, Clinical Prevention Services, BC Centre for Disease Control, 655 West 12th Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia Canada V5Z 4R4; mark.gilbert{at}

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There is little argument that partner notification for sexually transmitted infections (STI) is a core public health strategy which (when followed by testing and treatment of partners) contributes to reducing onward transmission and preventing re-infection.1 While provider-delivered methods of partner notification are generally considered more effective (ie, leading to more partners notified), most patients prefer to notify their partners themselves.1 ,2 A desire to increase patient self-efficacy for partner notification, in tandem with recognising the role of new digital technologies for communication and finding sex partners, has led over the past decade to the introduction of publicly accessible web-based services that provide alternative methods for patients diagnosed with STI to notify their partners, initially based on notification through email (ie, e-cards, such as inSPOT in North America) with more recent models expanding to include other notification methods such as letters or text/short message services (SMS; such as Australia's Let Them Know service,

The very nature of these programmes makes evaluation of their impact difficult; however, evidence is emerging leading to a more nuanced understanding of their role among the array of methods for partner notification.3 Studies have demonstrated that the acceptability of these services to populations at risk of infection including men who have sex with men (MSM), high service utilisation (eg, e-cards/SMS sent), and achieving awareness of these services among populations such as MSM are possible.4–6 However, community and STI clinic-based …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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