Partner notification for sexually transmitted diseases: an overview of the evidence.
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OBJECTIVE: To compare the effectiveness of alternative partner notification strategies for gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, HIV and hepatitis B. DATA SOURCES: Studies were identified using MEDLINE, EMBASE, SCISEARCH and other databases, review of reference lists and personal contact with over 80 international experts. STUDY SELECTION: Studies with at least two comparison groups exposed to different partner notification strategies were included. DATA EXTRACTION: Methodological rigor was assessed, and information regarding study populations, interventions and outcomes was extracted independently by two reviewers. MAIN RESULTS: Twelve studies met our inclusion criteria; five were methodologically strong; seven provided data on the referral process; four provided data on trained interviewers compared with routine care providers; and three provided data on the interview process. CONCLUSIONS: Only limited, broad conclusions regarding the effectiveness of various partner notification approaches could be drawn from these comparative studies. Until newer data become available, practice guidelines must be based to a large extent on other grounds.
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