Improving Women's Health and Combatting Sexually Transmitted Infections Through Expedited Partner Therapy

Obstet Gynecol. 2019 Mar;133(3):416-422. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000003088.


Sexually transmitted infections (STI), including Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae, have reached record high rates in the United States. Sexually transmitted infections disproportionately affect reproductive-aged females aged 15-44 years, who account for 65% and 42% of the total reported C trachomatis and N gonorrhoeae cases, respectively. Undiagnosed STIs can result in serious health complications that put women at an increased risk for pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, and tubal factor infertility. Many of these women are seen by physicians (eg, obstetrician-gynecologists, family medicine doctors, pediatricians) or other clinicians (eg, nurse practitioners, midwives, physician assistants) who care for women. These clinicians have the opportunity to help curb the continued increase in STI incidence rates with the implementation and use of expedited partner therapy. Expedited partner therapy is a proven effective health care practice that allows clinicians to give patients medications or prescriptions to distribute to their partners. Despite expedited partner therapy's proven effectiveness, there are barriers to its implementation that must be understood to enhance STI treatment and prevention efforts. In this commentary, we discuss these barriers, and appeal to women's health clinicians to implement or increase use of expedited partner therapy for the treatment of women with STIs and their sexual partners.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / economics
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Chlamydia Infections / drug therapy*
  • Chlamydia Infections / prevention & control
  • Chlamydia Infections / transmission*
  • Contact Tracing*
  • Disclosure
  • Drug Prescriptions
  • Female
  • Gonorrhea / drug therapy*
  • Gonorrhea / prevention & control
  • Gonorrhea / transmission*
  • Humans
  • Liability, Legal
  • Male
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Secondary Prevention / methods
  • Sexual Partners
  • Women's Health


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents