A variety of online STI partner notification (PN) resources have been developed to support people diagnosed with STI who elect to notify partners themselves. We conducted a survey of clients at a large urban STI clinic to determine the acceptability of different online resources for partner notification (PN).
Our waiting room survey was conducted over 8 months in Vancouver, British Columbia. We measured intention to use each of three online PN resources with a 5-point likelihood scale (dichotomized for analysis as likely/unlikely): email/text notification service (using online form, anonymous option); sample letter/email; tips/videos about how to talk to partners. We used multivariable logistical regression to detect significant (p < 0.05) associations between each outcome and potential explanatory factors.
Of 1539 clients surveyed, 26% (email/text), 26% (sample letter), and 68% (tips/videos) were likely to use each proposed service. Clients with more partners were more likely to intend to use the email/text service and tips/videos. Clients comfortable talking to partners were more likely to use the email/text service. Those who were likely to disclose all sex partners to a nurse were more likely to use the sample letter and tips/videos. The largest association was observed between intention to use email/text service and preference for a ‘mixed’ approach to PN (client tells some, nurse tells some; OR 5.24 [95% CI 3.43, 8.00]). Neither age nor gender of sex partners was associated with any of the outcomes.
Results from this large survey suggest that acceptability of online PN resources is high, and may effectively supplement existing approaches to PN for some clients —notably those with multiple partners, and those preferring STI nurses to notify only some of these partners on their behalf. Having a variety of resources in an online PN “toolkit” available to support people diagnosed with STI is ideal.