Partner notification and partner treatment for chlamydia: attitude and practice of general practitioners in the Netherlands; a landscape analysis

Ingrid V. F. van den Broek, Gé A. Donker, Karin Hek, Jan E. A. M. van Bergen, Birgit H. B. van Benthem, Hannelore M. Götz

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Background: Chlamydia prevalence remains high despite scaling-up control efforts. Transmission is not effectively interrupted without partner notification (PN) and (timely) partner treatment (PT). In the Netherlands, the follow-up of partners is not standardized and may depend on GPs' time and priorities. We investigated current practice and attitude of GPs towards PN and PT to determine the potential for Patient-Initiated Partner Treatment, which is legally not supported yet. Methods: Multiple data-sources were combined for a landscape analysis. Quantitative data on (potential) PT were obtained from prescriptions in the national pharmacy register (2004-2014) and electronic patient data from NIVEL-Primary Care Database (PCD) and from STI consultations in a subgroup of sentinel practices therein. Furthermore, we collected information on current practice via two short questionnaires at a national GP conference and obtained insight into GPs' attitudes towards PN/PT in a vignette study among GPs partaking in NIVEL-PCD. Results: Prescription data showed Azithromycin double dosages in 1-2% of cases in the pharmacy register (37.000 per year); probable chlamydia-specific repeated prescriptions or double dosages of other antibiotics in NIVEL-PCD (115/1078) could not be interpreted as PT for chlamydia with certainty. STI consultation data revealed direct PT in 6/100 cases, via partner prescription or double doses. In the questionnaires the large majority of GPs (>95% of 1411) reported to discuss PN of current and ex-partner(s) with chlamydia patients. Direct PT was indicated as most common method by 4% of 271 GPs overall and by 12% for partners registered in the same practice. Usually, GPs leave further steps to the patients (83%), advising patients to tell partners to get tested (56%) or treated (28%). In the vignette study, 16-20% of 268 GPs indicated willingness to provide direct PT, depending on patient/partner profile, more (24-45%) if patients would have the chance to notify their partner first. Conclusion: GPs in the Netherlands already treat some partners of chlamydia cases directly, especially partners registered in the same practice. Follow-up of partner notification and treatment in general practice needs more attention. GPs may be open to implement PIPT more often, provided there are clear guidelines to arrange this legally and practically
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103
JournalBMC family practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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