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.

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BMC Family Practice
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van den Broek, I., Donker, G., Hek, K. (Karin), van Bergen, J., van Benthem, B., & Götz, H. (2017). Partner notification and partner treatment for chlamydia: Attitude and practice of general practitioners in the Netherlands; a landscape analysis. BMC Family Practice, 18(1). doi:10.1186/s12875-017-0676-3