Understanding the Policy, Legal and Practice Barriers to Treating the Partners of Adolescents with Sexually Transmitted Infections

Statement of Problem

Even though adolescents and young adults account for only one quarter of the sexually active population, they acquire half of all new sexually transmitted infections (STIs) each year in the United States. Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT), the treatment of the sexual partner(s) of a patient with an STI without being seen by a medical professional for an exam or counseling, is an effective method in preventing reinfection. However, due to a variety of barriers, and potentially augmented by a complex policy environment, EPT is not used frequently in treating adolescents with STIs. 

Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT) Process

Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT) Process
Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT) Process

Expedited partner therapy (EPT) is a patient-delivered partner therapy used to help prevent reinfection of chlamydia or gonorrhea by providing the patient with extra maedication or a prescription to give to their sex partner(s) who are unwilling or unable to seek treatment.

This project aims to understand current practice with respect to EPT and adolescents, potential barriers to provision of EPT, and provider knowledge of state legal policy around EPT by using a survey administered to a sample of providers who likely treat adolescents in three differing state legal environments where EPT is: (a) explicitly legal; (b) permissible but not directly referenced in law; and (c) potentially allowable. The legal and policy team reviewed laws and policies to identify states with permissible EPT standards, explicitly prohibited EPT standards, and no EPT standards. This analysis was used to determine states in the three differing state legal environments to randomly select states for the study survey.

Ultimately, this will inform policy recommendations and intervention development to broaden the provision of EPT to adolescents.

We plan to share results at national meetings and also partner with local organizations to implement and evaluate programs focusing on providing EPT to adolescents.

Suggested Citation

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, PolicyLab. Understanding the Policy, Legal, and Practice Barriers to Treating the Partners of Adolescents with Sexually Transmitted Infections [Online]. Available from: http://www.policylab.chop.edu [Accessed: plug in date accessed here].