Expedited Partner Therapy
Expedited 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.
Review and Guidance
- Guidance on the Use of Expedited Partner Therapy in the Treatment of Gonorrhea (updated December 9, 2016)
- Expedited Partner Therapy in the Management of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (February 2, 2006)
Legal Status of EPT by Jurisdiction (as of December 2016)
The Legal Aspects of Expedited Partner Therapy Practice: Do State Laws and Policies Really Matter? - Article from Sexually Transmitted Diseases (July 23, 2013)
Dear Colleague Letter from John M. Douglas, Jr., MD., Director, Division of STD Prevention on the legal status of EPT
Position Papers and Opinions
- Expedited Partner Therapy: Helping to Reduce Sexually Transmitted Infections
- Expedited Partner Therapy in the Management of Gonorrhea and Chlamydial Infection (June 2015)
- American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) Position Statement (2012)
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Opinion on EPT to Prevent STI Reinfection (August 24, 2011)
- A Position Paper of the Society for Adolescent Medicine. (January 28, 2010)
- American Bar Association resolution supporting removal of legal barriers to the provision of EPT. (August 15, 2008)
- Battling a Silent Enemy (see pages 28-31) - An article on expedited partner therapy in the March edition of State News, a publication of CDC partner, The Council of State Governments. (March 22, 2007)
- Page last reviewed: March 25, 2016
- Page last updated: November 3, 2016
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