Changes to Partner notification for Gonococcal Infections
19 December 2019
The Adelaide Sexual Health Centre (ASHC) undertakes partner notification for selected sexually transmitted infections (STI) diagnosed in the community. With the increased demand for partner notification services for STIs within ASHC and in line with procedures in other jurisdictions, ASHC will no longer undertake partner notification for gonorrhoea diagnosed by GPs and other health services in the wider community.
ASHC will continue to undertake partner notification for all cases of drug resistant gonorrhoea, HIV, syphilis, donovanosis and chancroid.
Partner notification (contact tracing) for gonorrhoea and chlamydia is the responsibility of the treating doctor and an essential component of the clinical management of the patient’s infection.
Educate the patient about gonorrhoea, as well-informed patients are more likely to contact their partners. Infection does not confer any protective immunity, so a person can be re-infected by an untreated sexual partner immediately after completion of treatment. Partner notification depends on the cooperation of the patient and the treating doctor is best placed to provide supportive, non-judgemental advice and assistance to their patients. The optimal time to discuss partner notification is at the time of diagnosis or treatment with a doctor who has established rapport with the patient.
For partner notification of gonorrhoea, doctors are advised to:
- Have contact tracing permanently on your checklist for managing STI.
- Understand the patient’s particular situation and identify individual barriers to notifying contacts.
- Stress the importance of partner notification and treating sexual partners.
- Inform patients about asymptomatic infections, potential complications of untreated infection and the possibility of re-infection if a partner is not treated.
- Advise patients to have no sexual contact for 7 days after treatment.
- Advise no sex with sexual partners from the last 2 months until the partners have been tested and treated.
- Test and treat contacts of a person with gonorrhoea on the same day (do not wait for confirmatory results).
Web resources are available for patients to inform partners anonymously
- Let them know, for heterosexual men and women https://letthemknow.org.au
- Drama down under, for men who have sex with men www.thedramadownunder.info/notify
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients may prefer to contact partners using Better to Know, www.bettertoknow.org.au
For medical professionals
Resources for medical professionals
- Australian Contact Tracing Guidelines at http://contacttracing.ashm.org.au
- SA Health website for Sexually Transmitted Infection guidelines www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/STIGuidelines
- Australian STI management guidelines at www.sti.guidelines.org.au
- Contact a partner notification officer on (08) 7117 2800 if you require advice.
Recent public health alerts are available at www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/healthalerts
For updated information on notifiable diseases in South Australia visit: www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/NotifiableDiseaseReporting