Posted on Mar 04, 2018, 1 a.m.
In some states patients who test positive for gonorrhea or chlamydia can not only get a prescription for themselves but also their partner who was not seen. The states that allow EPT find more success at lowering the rates of sexually transmitted diseases, as published in the journal Sexually transmitted Infections.
38 states allow expedited partner therapy, this public health measure goes a long way towards prevention of STIs according to advocates. States with the most permissible expedited partner therapy laws have more success at treating and prevention according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan.
Researchers analyzed reported cases of chlamydia and found that on average disease incidence in states with prohibitive expedited partner therapy legislation rates grew significantly faster that in states where expedited partner therapy was permitted. In prohibited states average increase of chlamydia infection increase was 17.5 cases per 100,000 each year as compared to 14.0 in states where expedited partner therapy is permissible.
Barriers occur that prevent people from seeing a doctor such as inconvenience, embarrassment, transportation, and access to a free clinic. Allowing doctors to treat both patients with expedited partner therapy has been proven to be effective as preventing reinfection and the possible spread, in the long term there are many societal health and cost benefits.
Expedited partner therapy is endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists yet despite this fact expedited partner therapy still remains underused. Some states do not cover partner medication costs which can cause some doctors to be hesitant, as well as allergic reasons citing liability concerns. There are several steps currently in place to learn about patient partner allergies before prescribing as well as laws to protect against liability.
Among the most treatable stds gonorrhea and chlamydia are the most common. Without intervention gonorrhea and chlamydia can cause permanent and serious health issues. Women can develop infertility, ectopic pregnancy and pelvic inflammatory disease. Men may experience swollen testicles, discharge, and painful urination.
Societal costs of untreated stis can become costly including things such as the price of future treatment of recurrence, treatment of spreading infection, loss of work or school time, and hospitalization for those whose sti leads to a more serious medical condition. CDC data estimates that even if expedited partner therapy decreased the rate of incidence by 10% it could save the health care system upwards of $1.6 million annually.
Infection rates of sexually transmitted diseases are continually high, specifically among the young, African-Americans, and those living in Southern states. Majority of people with gonorrhea and chlamydia often do not display symptoms which may also be a factor. The rate of sexually transmitted diseases among youths continues to be a growing and significant public health concern.
Expedited partner therapy helps to circumvent many of the most common barriers that may prevent patients from receiving the care that is needed. These findings provide good reason to re-examine current policies making it difficult to access a public health measure such as expedited partner therapy that is proven as known to help treat and prevent sexually transmitted diseases.
Materials provided by Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan.
Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
Okeoma Mmeje, Sarah Wallett, Giselle Kolenic, Jason Bell. Impact of expedited partner therapy (EPT) implementation on chlamydia incidence in the USA. Sexually Transmitted Infections, 2017; sextrans-2016-052887 DOI: 10.1136/sextrans-2016-052887