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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

versão On-line ISSN 2078-5135
versão impressa ISSN 0256-9574


DA COSTA DIAS, B; KUFA, T  e  KULARATNE, R S. Factors associated with partner notification intentions among symptomatic sexually transmitted infection service attendees in South Africa. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2023, vol.113, n.2, pp.91-97. ISSN 2078-5135.

BACKGROUND. In South Africa (SA), a client-initiated partner notification (PN) approach is implemented for the management of sexual partners of patients presenting with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or STI syndromes. OBJECTIVES. To explore the demographic, sexual behavioural and clinical characteristics associated with PN intentions among symptomatic STI service attendees at sentinel primary healthcare facilities in three SA provinces. METHODS. We analysed cross-sectional data obtained from 1 293 adults enrolled into STI aetiological surveillance during 2019 - 2020 in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape provinces. Self-reported sexual practices, PN intentions and clinical data were collected using nurse-administrated questionnaires. We assessed gender-stratified factors associated with the index case's willingness to notify their sexual partners of their STI syndrome diagnosis. Univariable and multivariable Poisson regression models with robust error variance were used to determine factors associated with gender-stratified PN intentions. RESULTS. The enrolled participants comprised 887 male (68.6%) and 406 female (31.4%) STI clients. Self-reported PN intentions were higher among women than men (83.5% v. 64.4%; p<0.001). Multivariable analyses revealed that casual sex partnerships during the preceding 3-month period and enrolment at the KwaZulu-Natal site were independent barriers to PN intent among male participants. For females, enrolment at the Gauteng site was independently associated with lower PN intentions, while presenting with genital ulcer syndrome was a motivator towards PN intent. The primary reasons cited for non-disclosure across both genders were casual sexual encounters, followed by geographically distant partnerships and fear of disclosure. CONCLUSION. We show that demographic and behavioural characteristics, as well as relationship dynamics, may influence the PN intentions of STI service attendees in SA. Alternative PN strategies should be considered, based on the reported barriers, to increase overall STI notification, strengthen partner management and ultimately reduce STI incidence.

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