Discuss partner management
Sexual partners from the previous six months should be notified
Notifying sexual partners so that they can get tested helps to prevent ongoing transmission and to prevent reinfection in the index case.1 It is likely that the regular partner of the index case is infected with chlamydia.2
Strategies for partner management
There are a range of options for telling partners. It is the clinician's responsibility to discuss options for partner management with their patient. It is important that partners are tested and treated where indicated.
Patients often opt for telling their partners themselves, either face-to-face or via message. A simple message is often best, for example:
For those telling their partners face-to-face, offer a chlamydia factsheet (click here for one) to help them with the conversation, or to give to their partners.
Patients can use notification tools, which have the option of sending the notification anonymously. These are:
- Let them Know
- Better to Know (sexual health resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people)
- The Drama Down Under (sexual health resources for men who have sex with men)
Patient delivered partner therapy (PDPT) might be an option for your index case.
PDPT is useful for heterosexual patients with anogenital or oropharyngeal chlamydia whose partners are unable or unlikely to seek care themselves.3 Health authority guidance for PDPT varies from state to state, and healthcare providers should check with their relevant health department regarding guidance. Click here for more information about PDPT.
Consider offering a telehealth (video/phone) consultation to partners.
MBS telehealth items that were introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have been made permanent. Although it is a legislative requirement for GPs to have an established clinical relationship with patients to perform telehealth services, there are several exemptions to this rule, and this requirement does not apply to patients accessing specific MBS items for sexual and reproductive health consultations. Visit the MBS Telehealth Services website for up-to-date information.
Intimate partner violence and partner notification
If there are concerns about partner violence, contact specialist sexual health clinics or public health units directly for advice regarding partner notification. Refer to the RACGP White Book (Abuse and violence: Working with our patients in general practice) for further information. 1800RESPECT also has information, counselling and support services for the general public.
Having conversations with patients about partner notification
Click here for some practical tips on how to motivate your patients to notify their partners.
Chlamydia infections can sometimes bring up some tricky issues for the patient. Below are some suggestions for answers to some questions that may arise. You can also read more about chlamydia infections here.
Patient resources for partner management
For a patient factsheet about chlamydia, including information about telling partners and answers to tricky questions
For all patient resources, click below
General Practice resources for partner management
For all General Practice resources, click below
Key guidelines for chlamydia case management
For who and when to test, including in specific populations
For information about the entire chlamydia case management pathway, including guidance on partner management
1. Unemo M, Bradshaw CS, Hocking JS, et al. Sexually transmitted infections: challenges ahead. Lancet Infect Dis. 2017;17(8):e235-e79. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28701272
2. Huffam S, Chow EPF, Leeyaphan C, et al. Chlamydia Infection Between Men and Women: A Cross-Sectional Study of Heterosexual Partnerships. Open Forum Infect Dis. 2017;4(3). Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28979921
3. Australasian Society for HIV Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine. Australasian Contact Tracing Guidelines 2016 [updated 2016; cited 2019 31st January]. Available from: http://contacttracing.ashm.org.au/contact-tracing-guidance/patient-delivered-partner-therapy