There are different methods by which contacts can be informed:
- In person
- Phone call/ text
- Social Media
- Web-based partner notification tools
- Internet-based, that is Social Media (where local governance permits)
- Referral to a specialist
Most index patients like to notify their partners in person or over the phone. Research has demonstrated improved outcomes in HIV and syphilis notification and subsequent access to testing and treatment using social media[2,3].
Referring cases to a local specialist service for support in your Australian state or territory may enhance the outcome.
Note: There may be risks involved when contact tracing by phone/text. It is not uncommon for some people to share phones between multiple users. Make sure a ‘safe’ number is used and the message does not disclose sensitive information. A ‘safe’ number is one that the index patient provides and to which they have private access. A ‘safe’ number may also be one the index patient provides that they do not own but they trust the owner to maintain confidentiality.
Available resources to support both patients and health care providers to undertake partner notification are listed below.
Resources for patient-initiated contact tracing
|Information on STIs|
|Treatment letter to give to Doctor/ partner/s|
|SMS or Email notification service||
Resources for Provider-Initiated Contact Tracing
|STI treatment and management guidelines|
|Treatment letter for patient to give to their partner/s||
|State-based specialist partner notification services||
*Service for gay and bi-sexual men/men who have sex with men
**Service for Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Peoples
***Services in New Zealand
- Hopkins, C.A., Temple-Smith, M.J., Fairley, C.K. et al.Telling partners about chlamydia: how acceptable are the new technologies?. BMC Infect Dis10, 58 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2334-10-58
- Udeagu C-CN, Bocour A, Shar S, et al Bringing HIV Partner Services Into the Age of Social Media and Mobile Connectivity Sexually Transmitted Diseases: October 2014 - Volume 41 - Issue 10 - p 631-636 doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000181
- Wilkinson AL, Pedrana AE, El-Hayek C et al; The Impact of a Social Marketing Campaign on HIV and Sexually Transmissible Infection Testing Among Men Who Have Sex With Men in Australia Sexually Transmitted Diseases: January 2016 - Volume 43 - Issue 1 - p 49-56 doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000380