Expedited Partner Therapy May Decrease Population Levels of Gonorrhea and Chlamydia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Matthew Golden MD, MPH
Director, PHSKC HIV/STD Program
Professor of Medicine, University of Washington
Harborview Medical Center

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Golden: Gonorrhea and chlamydial infection are the most common reportable infections in the United States and, in women, are associated with pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, infertility and chronic pelvic pain. One way to decrease the number of cases of gonorrhea and chlamydia is to increase our success in treating the sex partners of persons diagnosed with these infections. Expedited partner therapy (EPT) – treating partners without requiring them to first undergo a medical evaluation – is one way to increase partner treatment. This usually involves giving people medication to give to their partners. Prior randomized trials have found that EPT decreases patients’ risk of becoming reinfected.

We conducted a community-level randomized trial to evaluate whether making free Expedited partner therapy available to medical providers would increase the use of Expedited Partner Therapy and decrease gonorrhea and chlamydial infections at the population level. We found that a public health program that made Expedited partner therapy widely available could dramatically increase medical providers use of EPT. Although our final result was not statistically significant, our findings suggest that the program likely decreased both gonorrhea and chlamydial infection by about 10% at the population-level.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Golden: Expedited partner therapy, which was previously shown to be an effective intervention in increasing partner treatment and decreasing patients’ risk of reinfection, can also have a population-level effect.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Golden: Health departments need to develop and test ways to better promote Expedited partner therapy use.


Uptake and Population-Level Impact of Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT) on Chlamydia trachomatis And Neisseria gonorrhoeae : The Washington State Community-Level Randomized Trial of EPT.

Matthew R. Golden et al
Published: January 15, 2015 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001777

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Last Updated on January 18, 2015 by Marie Benz MD FAAD