New ways of getting treatment to sexual partners of patients infected with chamydia or gonorrhoea

Treating a sexually transmitted infection in a person is incomplete without treating te sexual partner and thus closing the loop. Current forms of partner notification (PN) are not particularly successful with less than one half of sexual partners attending sexual health (genitourinary medicine) clinics.

A recent study by Claudia Escourt and her colleagues has looked at the feasibility of two different approaches to PN. One was to set up a hotine for the partner to phone a health care worker in the sexual health clinic and after appropriate consultation to collect their treatments either at the sexual health clinic and the secone was for the partner go to a a designated pharmacy and obtain treatment from a trained pharmacist. The partners were also asked to provide urine for chlamydia testing and to attend the sexual health clinic at a time of their own convenience for syphilis and HIV testing.

The preliminary results were encouraging and showed that both systems were acceptable to clients and increased uptake of treatment from 36% to 59% in the case of the clinic hotline and 66% in case of pharmacy.

The only drawback of either strategy was that almost none of the partners accessed HIV or syphilis testing at a later date.

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