De-sexualizing partner notification: A qualitative study on chinese young adults with chlamydia

Bobo H.P. Lau, Lucia Liu, Celia H.Y. Chan, Cecilia L.W. Chan, Jason J. Ong, Eleanor Holroyd, William C.W. Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Chlamydia is common amongst the sexually active population in Hong Kong. As most cases are asymptomatic, partner notification may be helpful in controlling chlamydia. This study examined attitudes towards partner notification for chlamydia among Hong Kong Chinese youths in order to inform a culturally appropriate, patient-empowering sexual health service. Meth-ods: Sixteen individuals (aged 20 to 31) who received a confirmed diagnosis of chlamydia within the previous twelve months of data collection were recruited from two community-based organizations between June and December 2017. Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted by a health psychologist. Results: Nine participants notified a total of eleven current and ex-partners. Seven participants did not notify their sexual partner(s). Our findings revealed how participants struggled with the discrediting sexual aspect of their infection, and how de-sexualizing the infection and selected disclosure facilitated partner notification and social acceptance. Perceived stigma regarding chlamydia however did not dissipate with their disclosure. Participants did not perceive lasting impact of chlamydia on their well-being as they thought they have much control over whether and how to disclose to their (future) partners. All participants agreed there was a pressing need to raise public awareness on this silent but highly prevalent sexually transmitted infection. Conclusions: Our findings illustrate the complex struggle behind communicating about chlamydia to one’s sexual partner and how strategizing the disclosure process served to circumvent embarrassment and foster testing of sexual partners.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4032
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Chinese
  • Chlamydia
  • Partner notification
  • Sexually transmitted infection
  • Stigma


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