Sex partner interpersonal communication about expedited partner therapy (EPT) for the treatment of chlamydia trachomatis
Chlamydia is a highly prevalent sexually transmitted infection with high rates of reinfection. Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT), in which sex partners of a person diagnosed with chlamydia can be treated without visiting a healthcare provider, is an evidence-based strategy of reducing chlamydia transmission and reinfection. Although there are some studies about facilitators and barriers to accepting EPT from providers and giving EPT to partners, little is known about interpersonal interactions that take place once EPT is offered. In this study, we investigated young Southern Black men’s interpersonal experiences with their female sex partners during notification of chlamydia infection and EPT. Eighteen men who took part in a community-based chlamydia screening and treatment program were interviewed. Interviews were transcribed and thematically analyzed in NVivo. Participants generally preferred to contact their partners about EPT via phone call. During notification, participants utilized different strategies to have a more positive interaction with their partners, most commonly emphasizing honesty. Often the EPT notification would lead to conflict between partners, with the most common argument centering around which partner caused the infection. While many partners accepted EPT, others sought confirmation of positive chlamydia status from their own healthcare providers. The interpersonal interactions during EPT notification prompted relationship changes between many partnerships, while other partnerships didn’t change. While the findings of this study indicate that EPT notification transpires in diverse ways and affects partnerships differently, notable patterns were revealed. These results can be used to inform healthcare providers’ communication about EPT with patients.