partner therapy could help couples get the antibiotics they need for
STD treatment, but there are still obstacles to overcome to make it
2017, there were about 2.3 million new cases of STDs in the U.S. Even
though the infection rates for gonorrhea and chlamydia hit records,
only the patient seeking the treatment could get the medication they
need, which meant their partner had to seek their own treatment or
the patient could become infected again.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the expedited
partner therapy approach to combat the STD epidemic. In many states,
doctors are allowed to write prescriptions for a person’s partner
even if only one person was diagnosed with the disease. These states’
laws permit pharmacies and clinics to give STD drugs to partners of
University of Michigan physicians talk about the obstacles people
have when it comes to expedited partner therapy. If the obstacles
were to be overcome, more STD cases could be prevented including
potential reinfections of those that have already sought treatment.
well-known and lesser-known medical societies have encouraged the EPT
practice based on the fact that it’s both safe and effective.
However, it’s a technique that’s still not widely utilized.
Cornelius Jamison, team leader behind the report, said EPT is a
public health issue where public policy is gaining on clinical
practice. Jamison is currently leading research that’s looking
into the obstacles that stop clinics from implementing and using the
said the entire health community needs to have some general
understanding of what the EPT is, how it works and what it would take
for the method to become widely accepted and used.
paper offers a theoretical framework that lays out every possible
obstacle for using EPT – a framework that could guide work that
lays out how to overcome the obstacles.
Are Some Barriers Related To EPT?
it comes to EPT, there are several barriers that relate to the
disease nature and the stigma of an STD infection. These barriers
could keep teenagers and young adults from getting tested for STDs
and get treatment for fear of their parents finding out through
bills, insurance records and positive test results.
said many patients will get tested and/or treatments from a walk-in
clinic that is cash-only or free. These sites are necessary for
boosting EPT use. On top of that, their partners may have no
insurance or want to use their insurance to pay for the STD tests or
said if STD positive patients are given a pack of EPT antibiotics or
a pre-written prescription, it could help them overcome the
and chlamydia drugs tend to be prescribed together for people who
test positive for even just one infection. A doctor may prescribe
their patients with Suprax and Zithromax.
medication costs can differ from one place to another, but even if
the cost is low, teenagers and low-income individuals may have a hard
time paying for the prescriptions.
Screenings and Legal Issues
are multiple guidelines that suggest any sexually active teen and
young women should get tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia annually.
Some recommendations suggest older women also get tested. With
inconsistent screenings, it means infections will run rampant and
lead to further complications such as infertility, higher chance for
HIV infections in women and pelvic inflammatory disease.
more screenings and treatment, it means providers have a better
chance of talking to patients with STDs about why they need to get
their partner STD-treatment drugs. With a rise in more screening and
treatment opportunities, it means doctors can talk to STD positive
patients on why they need to get antibiotics for their partners and
use safe sex practices during sexual activity.
many EPT clinical barriers remain, it’s also the legal issues that
hinder EPT. For example, seven states, as well as Puerto Rico, have
unclear laws regarding EPT. Both Kentucky and South Carolina do not
problem is the reluctance pharmacists and physicians have in offering
EPT to patients because of a liability that could result if an EPT
recipients were to experience any side effects even with states that
permit the EPT practice.
research is looking at EPT and its usage in federal-mandated health
clinics where any patient, no matter if they have insurance or not,
can pay. He said more information is needed in using and prescribing
EPT in all areas, with certain steps being implemented so clinics
could ensure EPT is given to the right patients.
Jamison said it’s important to determine what that right thing is for STD patients.