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More STD Patients' Partners Treated in Nurse-Run Program

Program can be conducted in primary-care facilities and costs about the same as specialized clinics

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- A nurse-run program to increase notification of sexual partners of patients with chlamydia can be as successful and cost-effective as referring patients to a specialized clinic, and can also be conducted in a primary-care setting, according to a report published Dec. 15 by the British Medical Journal.

Nicola Low, M.D., of the University of Berne in Switzerland, and colleagues conducted a randomized study of a primary-care notification program designed to relieve the workload at specialized genitourinary clinics that have grown overwhelmed by the rise in sexually transmitted diseases in the United Kingdom.

Immediately after diagnosis, nurses contacted the sexual partners of those affected, and a health advisor followed up by telephone. The authors found that 65.3% of participants in the nurse-led program had at least one partner treated, compared with 52.9% in the specialized clinic program. The cost of each program was similar -- around 32 British pounds per case.

"Our study provides high-quality evidence that investing in training and support for practice nurse-led partner notification in primary care would be an effective use of government resources committed to improving sexual health," the authors write.

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