GP notice sometimes preferable for STIs

Burnet Institute

20 April, 2011

Burnet researcher Dr Siobhan Reddel has told a conference there may be specific circumstances where GP or other provider notification of sexually transmitted infections (STI) is more effective than relying on patients with an infection to tell their partner.

Dr Reddel, who conducted a literature review and interviewed 30 key informants (social workers, sexual health and public health physicians, nurse practitioners etc), found that patients were less likely to inform casual or ex-partners about an infection.

“Provider referral might be more appropriate in those circumstances than patient referral but it is more expensive and time consuming,” Dr Reddel said.

She also told the Communicable Disease Control conference men where less likely than women to inform partners and that patients with repeat infection may indicate that provider support for telling partners may be necessary.

The study occurred mostly in New South Wales but it stretched to five states and territories, and this highlighted the differences throughout the country.

“There are some GPs who don’t know it is their responsibility to initiate contact tracing,” Dr Reddel said.

“They may also be reluctant to do this due to perceived lack of skills in the area as well as time constraints. However the process doesn’t have to be difficult and in most cases simply highlighting the benefits of informing partners to patients, such as preventing re-infection, is an appropriate approach.”

CLICK HERE to read the full review.

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Burnet Institute

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