Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 25-May-2012, Vol 125 No 1355
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Partner notification for sexually transmitted infections. Why canít we talk about it?
Primary care practitioners need practical guidance on how to best manage partner notification for bacterial sexually transmitted infections. This paper reviews published literature on partner notification to determine whether there is good evidence to support the introduction of patient delivered partner therapy for the management of bacterial STI in New Zealand.
A search of CINAHL, Medline and Cochrane databases was carried out using the search terms partner notification, contact tracing, sexually transmitted infections, sexually transmitted diseases, chlamydia, gonorrhoea and trichomoniasis. After review of the abstracts the identified papers were included in the review if they addressed the research question.
Most people diagnosed with a bacterial STI would prefer to notify their sexual contacts themselves; therefore health practitioners need to feel competent to discuss and facilitate this process for their patients. Clinicians and patients are prepared to consider the use of patient delivered partner therapy with reservations however there is little evidence to support the effectiveness of this intervention even if it were legal under current New Zealand prescribing law.
Training of practice nurses, the use of partner notification cards and implementation of systems to improve documentation of management of index cases are all practical ways of achieving better partner notification outcomes in primary care within existing legal frameworks.
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