Though this is a service rooted in awkwardness (and cowardice), it's also born out of necessity: As Anna Halloran, a worker at the Spokane Regional Health District, notes: "I wait for the time when our numbers go down. But, I have to keep thinking of what the case rates would be like if we weren't doing this work." In other words, civil servants are making these phone calls because the infected are too embarrassed to do it themselves. Halloran contacts everyone from former to current partners, but with a disclaimer she makes in jest: "I don't do breakups."
For those who are worried that these phone calls may breach some sort of patient privacy agreement, fear not: It's all still strictly confidential, and it's a completely optional service. Gonorrhea is totally treatable if it's caught early, so communicating this information to former and current partners is key — even if that communication is from a government worker. (The Cut)