Expedited Partner Therapy

Expedited Partner Therapy


Hello, I’m Dr. Susan Bailey, President
of the Texas Medical Association. I’d like to spend just a minute or two
talking about Expedited Partner Therapy, a new standard of care in our management
of sexually transmitted disease. In 2010, there were over 118,000
reported cases of chlamydia and over 31,000 reported
cases of gonorrhea in Texas. In 2009, the Texas Medical Board approved
a rule change expressly permitting the use of expedited partner therapy, or EPT. EPT is the clinical practice of treating the
sexual partners of your patients diagnosed with chlamydia or gonorrhea, by providing
prescriptions or medications to your patient to take to the partner without
you first examining the partner. Implementation of EPT is an important
tool in our fight against STDs. Research shows that EPT can reduce the risk of
re-infection among patients treated for STDs. It can also prevent disease complications, and
reduce transmission to un-infected partners. EPT has been approved as the standard of care by
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Texas Department of State Health Services,
the Texas Medical Board, the Texas State Board of Pharmacy, and the American College
of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Studies have shown that about 70 to 80%
of patients will deliver medications or prescriptions to their partners. More than 75% of the patients
who were given treatment for their partners will not be
infected at follow up testing. So clearly, EPT saves money and clinician
time, and it’s acceptable to most patients. Now why is preventing re-infection so important? The impact of STDs in women
can be quite significant. Untreated or repeat sexually transmitted
infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea, can increase a woman’s risk of developing
pelvic inflammatory disease or PID. Left untreated, PID can leave a woman
infertile or with chronic pelvic pain. Furthermore, infection with
an STD, like gonorrhea or chlamydia increases one’s
susceptibility to HIV. For a pregnant woman, infection with
chlamydia or gonorrhea can harm the baby. In short, expedited partner
therapy is an effective method for preventing disease transmission
and re-infection and I encourage you to routinely provide EPT to your
patients diagnosed with or suspected of having gonorrhea and/or chlamydia.

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