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Expedited Partner Therapy

partners discussing prescriptionsExpedited Partner Therapy (EPT) is the clinical practice of treating the sex partners of patients diagnosed with chlamydia or gonorrhea by providing prescriptions or medications to the patient to take to his/her partner without the health care provider first examining the partner.

Effective clinical management of patients with treatable sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) requires treatment of the patients’ current sex partners to prevent reinfection and curtail further transmission. The standard approach to partner treatment has included clinical evaluation in a health care setting, with partner notification accomplished by the index patient, by the provider or an agent of the provider, or a combination of these methods. Provider-assisted referral is considered the optimal strategy for partner treatment, but is not available to most patients with gonorrhea or chlamydial infection because of resource limitations. The usual alternative is to advise patients to refer their partners for treatment.

CDC has concluded that EPT is a useful option to facilitate partner management, particularly for treatment of male partners of women with chlamydial infection or gonorrhea. Although ongoing evaluation will be needed to define when and how EPT can be best utilized, the evidence indicates that EPT should be available to clinicians as an option for partner treatment. EPT represents an additional strategy for partner management that does not replace other strategies such as provider-assisted referral, when available. Excerpt from Dear Colleague Letter