A recent study from the University of Michigan champions the claim that expedited patient therapy, or EPT, sufficiently lowers rates of STD transmission in states with laws allowing the practice.
EPT allows patients to receive STD prescriptions for both themselves and their sexual partner. According to lead researcher Okeome Mmeje, the method allows partners to overcome barriers that keep both partners from seeing a doctor, such as scheduling issues or lack of transportation.
The study looked at the spread of chlamydia and gonorrhea from 2000 to 2013. States with EPT laws saw 14.1 cases of STDs per 100,000 people, while states where EPT is prohibited averaged 17.5 cases per 100,000 people.
There are 38 states which allow EPT, eight in which it has only limited availability and four that do not allow the practice at all.
EPT does face some obstacles even when it is legal within a state—most insurance coverage will not pay for the partner’s prescription dose.
Because doctors are prescribing for patients they are not directly seeing, they may not have full access to the partner’s medical history, but the 38 states that allow the practice without restrictions give doctors protection against legal liability for partners who exercise EPT.
University of Michigan researchers are now looking into how much EPT could save states that otherwise would have resorted to simply treating STDs.
Photo: Hayleybarcar, CC-BY
Savannah McCoy is a freelance journalist based in Athens, Georgia. She is an avid sports fan and Game of Thrones junkie. Valar Morghulis.