A state law that allows for the establishment of a pilot STD program in Baltimore went into effect Sunday. Under the city health department-run program, doctors will be able to write antibiotic prescriptions for partners of persons diagnosed with chlamydia and gonorrhea, even if those partners are not seen by the physician. Dr. Emily Erbelding, head of STD/HIV Clinical Services for Baltimore, said partners should ideally come into the clinics so that they could be tested for HIV and other diseases, receive counseling on practicing safe sex, and obtain referrals for other services, such as drug treatment. However, anecdotal evidence suggests as few as 20 percent of them do, causing further spread of STDs and contributing to a 15 percent or higher reinfection rate among those who are treated at city clinics, she said. "That repeat infection rate proves that we know we don't reach partners who need to be treated, and that's what we're trying to deal with here," she added.
Back to other news for July 2007