STD Campaign Asks Lovers to Give Out Meds

July 27, 2011

Expedited partner therapy for some STDs is legal in at least 27 states, according to CDC. To eliminate the barriers of cost, time and potential embarrassment, EPT delivers antibiotic treatments or prescriptions directly through the STD patients to their unexamined sex partners.


"We have clinical trials showing a decreased risk of being re-infected," said Matthew Golden, a physician and University of Washington public health researcher who helped author the 2006 CDC report on EPT. "Men in particular, with no symptoms, when their partner says, 'You might have it. Go to a doctor,' they will not do it," he said. Those who go untreated can then re-infect their partners.

Gregg Lichtenstein, medical director for San Diego State University student health services, says his clinic offers EPT "fairly commonly."

"Some say, 'Oh sure, I'll give it to my partner,' and then others say, 'Uh, no thanks. I will just tell them to go see the doctor,'" Lichtenstein said. "You do wonder about that latter group, if they really do tell the person or not."

If EPT were a substitute for counseling infected patients about the need to inform their partners, that would be troubling, said Arthur Caplan, a University of Pennsylvania bioethicist. Providers are already reluctant to take on STD patient education, he noted. However, if EPT proves significantly more effective in preventing new chlamydia infections, it is worth the risk, he said.

A large trial now underway in the state of Washington is examining EPT's effects on patient re-infection and population-level infection rates, Golden said.

Back to other news for July 2011

Adapted from:
07.24.2011; Brian Alexander

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.

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