Divergent Approaches to Partner Notification for Sexually Transmitted Infections Across the European Union

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Abstract

Objective:

The objective of this study was to characterize partner notification (PN) policy and practice for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the European Union (EU) and Norway.

Goal:

The goal of this study was to promote European good practice in PN.

Study:

This study consisted of a cross-sectional survey using a structured questionnaire to national STI surveillance leads.

Results:

Considerable heterogeneity exists in approaches to PN. In 2 countries, PN is compulsory for notifiable STIs; and in 13, it is voluntary. Most countries use patient referral but 5 of 15 also offer provider referral. Activity level varies by country and disease. Etiologic treatment of contacts is most common; 5 usually offer epidemiologic treatment and patient-expedited treatment is unusual. Similarities exist with provision mainly by specialized STI treatment services for bacterial STIs.

Conclusions:

This divergence in approach calls for the setting of minimum standards for PN delivery together with mechanisms for establishing and sharing best practice. Further research must identify monitoring systems for inclusion in routine surveillance.

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