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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111

Abstract

CARNICER-PONT, Dolors et al. Use of new technologies to notify possible contagion of sexually-transmitted infections among men. Gac Sanit [online]. 2015, vol.29, n.3, pp.190-197. ISSN 0213-9111.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gaceta.2015.01.003.

Background: Among men who have sex with men (MSM), the association between searching for sexual partners' on the Internet and increased risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)/HIV infection, together with current low levels of partner notification (PN), justifies a study to explore the intention to use new communication technologies for PN in Spain. Methods: Two cross-sectional surveys were performed: the first was administered online to visitors to web pages where the survey was advertised; the second was administered on paper to patients attending an STI Unit and centres similar to Community-Based Voluntary Counselling and Testing centres. Results: The study population comprised 1578 Spanish residents (median age, 34 years [range: 18 to 74]); 84% lived in urban areas, and 69% reported searching for sexual partners on the Internet. Thirty-seven per cent would be willing to use a website for PN, 26% did not know if they would use one, and 37% would not want to use one. The main reasons for not intending to notify STI/HIV were "shame or fear" (stable partner) and "not knowing how to contact them" (casual partner). The preferred method of notification was face to face (73%) for both stable and casual partners, although using new technologies (Short Messaging System, e-mail, web page, phone applications) was widely accepted for notifying casual partners. Conclusions: Fighting stigma and promoting alternative methods of PN among MSM and health professionals through new technologies could increase the frequency of PN. This approach will improve early detection and reduce transmission in Spain.

Keywords : Sexually Transmitted Infection/HIV; Communication networks; Partner notification; Internet.

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