Partner Notification in the Real World: A Four Site Time-Allocation Study

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Background and Objectives:

Although partner notification has been a long-standing intervention and prevention strategy for sexually transmitted diseases (STD), variations in partner notification practices across sites have never been documented.

Goals of the Study:

To describe provider-assisted partner notification practices in four STD programs in the United States.

Study Design:

Eleven disease intervention specialists (DIS) in each of three urban sites and seven DIS in one rural site documented their activities and clients for 14 working days using a personal digital assistant.


Of 2,506 recorded activity hours across sites, 37.4% of the recorded time was spent on partner notification (PN) activities with 1148 clients. Field visits to locate contacts accounted for the largest proportion of time spent on PN. Overall, PN clients were cases of or were contacts to nonprimary and secondary (P&S) syphilis (39.6%), gonorrhea (25.5%), chlamydia (18.0%), HIV/AIDS (10.4%), and P&S syphilis (6.5%).


The activities which constitute PN, the diseases for which PN is used, and the time spent on each PN client vary across sites. More research is needed on the determinants of these variations and their association with the ultimate goal of disease prevention.

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