Background: Expedited partner therapy (EPT) is a potential partner treatment strategy. Significant efforts have been devoted to policies intended to facilitate its practice. However, few studies have attempted to evaluate these policies.
Methods: We used data on interviewed gonorrhea cases from 12 sites in the STD Surveillance Network in 2010 (n = 3404). Patients reported whether they had received EPT. We coded state laws relevant to EPT for gonorrhea using Westlaw legal research database and the general legal status of EPT in STD Surveillance Network sites from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Web site in 2010. We also coded policy statements by medical and other boards. We used χ2 tests to compare receipt of EPT by legal/policy variables, patient characteristics, and provider type. Variables significant at P < 0.10 in bivariate analyses were included in a logistic regression model.
Results: Overall, 9.5% of 2564 interviewed patients with gonorrhea reported receiving EPT for their partners. Receipt of EPT was significantly higher where laws and policies authorizing EPT existed. Where EPT laws for gonorrhea existed and EPT was permissible, 13.3% of patients reported receiving EPT as compared with 5.4% where there were no EPT laws and EPT was permissible, and 1.0% where there were no EPT laws and EPT was potentially allowable (P < 0.01). Expedited partner therapy was higher where professional boards had policy statements supporting EPT (P < 0.01). Receipt of EPT did not differ by most patient characteristics or provider type. Policy-related findings were similar in adjusted analyses.
Conclusions: Expedited partner therapy laws and policies were associated with higher reports of receipt of EPT among interviewed gonorrhea cases.