Featured Committee Opinion

Expedited Partner Therapy in the Management of Gonorrhea and Chlamydial Infection

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) disproportionately affect women and create a preventable threat to their fertility. One factor that contributes to young women’s high rates of STIs is reinfection from an untreated sexual partner. One way to address this problem is through expedited partner therapy, the practice of treating the sexual partners of patients in whom STIs are diagnosed. Expedited partner therapy enables the obstetrician–gynecologist or other provider to give prescriptions or medications to patients to take to their partners without first examining these partners. Despite the effectiveness of expedited partner therapy, numerous legal, medical, practical, and administrative barriers hinder its routine use by obstetrician–gynecologists. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists supports the use of expedited partner therapy as a method of preventing gonorrhea and chlamydial reinfection when a patient’s partners are unable or unwilling to seek medical care. Expedited partner therapy should be accompanied by patient counseling and written treatment instructions for the patient’s partner(s). Partners receiving expedited partner therapy should be encouraged to seek additional medical evaluation as soon as possible to discuss screening for other STIs, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.

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