Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT) in Pennsylvania
Rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea have been rising steadily in recent years, with adolescents and young adults experiencing the highest rates. A relatively simple treatment can cure most patients of chlamydia and gonorrhea, but treating an infected patient is not always enough to keep them healthy. Patients treated for sexually transmitted infections (STI) are often at risk of being reinfected because their partners remain untreated. Persistent and recurring infections can cause serious and long- term health problems, including chronic pain and infertility. Successful treatment of any STI patient must include treating infected partners. When the partner is unwilling or unable to present for a clinical evaluation, expedited partner therapy (EPT) can be an important and effective treatment option. EPT is the practice by which a clinician provides the patient with extra medication or a prescription to give directly to his or her partner.
Although most providers agree that EPT can help prevent reinfection and provide higher quality care for their patients, few actually report offering this service. A number of legal, financial and administrative barriers limit the use of this treatment option, and these barriers can vary significantly by state. This policy brief identifies these barriers and offers recommendations for how Pennsylvania can improve the legal status surrounding EPTin order to provide safe practice environments for providers.
This brief was originally published in December 2016 and updated in December 2018.