Expedited partner therapy for sexually transmitted diseases: assessing the legal environment

Am J Public Health. 2008 Feb;98(2):238-43. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2007.113381. Epub 2008 Jan 2.


An emerging alternative to traditional partner management for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is expedited partner therapy (EPT), which involves the delivery of medications or prescriptions to STD patients for their partners without the clinical assessment of the partners. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently recommended EPT nationally in limited circumstances; however, its implementation may raise legal concerns. We analyzed laws relevant to the distribution of medications to persons with whom clinicians have not personally treated or established a relationship. We determined that three fourths of states or territories either expressly permit EPT or do not expressly prohibit the practice. We recommend (1) expressly endorsing EPT through laws, (2) creating exceptions to existing prescription requirements, (3) increasing professional board or association support for EPT, and (4) supporting third-party payments for partners' medications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.
  • Contact Tracing
  • Drug Prescriptions / economics
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health, Reimbursement
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Legislation, Drug*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Sexual Partners*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / drug therapy*
  • United States