Partner Services

‘Partner services’ are offered to individuals who are infected with STDs, to their partners, and to other persons who are at increased risk for infection in an effort to prevent transmission of these diseases and to reduce suffering from their complications. The historical focus was to identify and locate the sexual contacts of infected persons and other persons at risk for behavioral or other factors and then refer them for medical examination and, as appropriate, for treatment.

Partner services has evolved to include a broad view of the clinical and epidemiologic activities needed to help persons infected with STDs. The basic process – interviewing infected persons and others potentially involved in transmission, identifying persons still at risk (whether through direct exposure or indirect involvement), and bringing the latter to diagnosis and treatment – has evolved along with societal, legal, and technological change.

Additionally, partner services are a clinical tool for identifying a patient’s needs and requirements and connecting the patient to appropriate care. Partner services also provide the basis for assessing local epidemiologic conditions, targeting resources, and evaluating program performance. Lastly, follow-up of partners who are at risk is a powerful tool for understanding the dynamics of disease transmission.