Print version ISSN 0213-9111
VALLES, Xavier; CARNICER-PONT, Dolors and CASABONA, Jordi. Partner notification in sexually transmitted infections. A neglected activity?. Gac Sanit [online]. 2011, vol.25, n.3, pp. 224-232. ISSN 0213-9111. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0213-91112011000300009.
Objectives: To undertake a critical literature review of published evidence on the effectiveness of contact tracing in sexually transmitted infections, mechanisms of referral, and the criteria for initiating this activity. To describe how these factors vary by causative agent and to characterize the current state of contact tracing in sexually transmitted infections in developed countries. Methods: A systematic literature review was undertaken using online databases and scientific publications, as well as guidelines and documents pertaining to the legal framework within which contact tracing takes place. Results: Contact tracing is specifically recommended for infections caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Chlamydia trachomatis, syphilis and HIV. The principal approaches to contact tracing reported were patient referral, provider referral or conditional patient referral. In addition, patient-dispensed partner treatment and the use of new technologies were reported. Numerous studies have evaluated the efficacy, effectiveness and social and legal context of contact tracing in different countries and populations. This situation contrasts with that in Spain, where there is a notable absence of guidelines, legal framework and formal studies dealing with contact tracing in sexually transmitted infections. Conclusions: Contact tracing is an increasingly important tool in the public health management of sexually transmitted infections and should be valued as such. This activity should be an integral and effective component of the control and prevention of sexually transmitted infection programmes in all autonomous regions in Spain. Research in this field is required to develop the legal framework and practice guidelines appropriate to the local context.
Keywords : Partner notification; Sexually transmitted infections; HIV; Syphilis; Neisseria gonorrhoeae; Chlamydia trachomatis; Spain.