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Use of Patient-Delivered Partner Therapy in US College Settings: Associations With Legality, Perceived Legality and Other Sexual and Reproductive Health Services

Hogben, Matthew PhD*; Caccamo, Alexandra MPH*; Beltran, Oscar PhD; Cramer, Ryan JD, MPH*; Habel, Melissa A. MPH*

doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000671
Original Studies

Background Young adults, including college students, have higher rates of chlamydia than the general population. Patient-delivered partner therapy (PDPT) is a partner treatment option for sex partners of individuals diagnosed with chlamydia or gonorrhea. We examined college health center use of PDPT in a national sample of colleges.

Methods During 2014 to 2015, we collected data from 482 colleges and universities (55% of 885 surveyed), weighting responses by institutional characteristics abstracted from a national database (eg, 2-year vs 4-year status). We asked whether the school had a student health center and which sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services were offered. We also assessed the legal and perceived legal status of PDPT in states where schools were located. We then estimated PDPT availability at student health centers and measured associations with legal status and SRH services.

Results Most colleges (n = 367) reported having a student health center; PDPT was available at 36.6% of health centers and associated with perceived legality of PDPT in the state in which the college was located (odds ratio [OR], 4.63; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.17–18.28). Patient-delivered partner therapy was significantly associated with availability of SRH services, including sexually transmitted disease diagnosis and treatment of STI (56.2% vs 1.1%), gynecological services (60.3% vs 12.2%), and contraceptive services (57.8% vs 7.7%) (all P < .001). Compared with schools taking no action, PDPT was more likely to be available at schools that notified partners directly (OR, 8.29; 95% CI, 1.28–53.85), but not schools that asked patients to notify partners (OR, 3.47; 95% CI, 0.97–12.43).

Conclusions PDPT was more likely to be available in colleges that offered SRH services and where staff believed PDPT was legal. Further research could explore more precise conditions under which PDPT is used.

Patient-delivered partner therapy is most commonly offered at student health centers in states where the practice is perceived to be legal and where other sexual and reproductive health services are also offered.

From the *Division of STD Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA; and †Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, Oak Ridge, TN

The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Conflict of Interest and Sources of Funding: None declared.

Correspondence: Matthew Hogben, PhD, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mail Stop E-44, Atlanta, GA 30329. E-mail:

Received for publication February 24, 2017, and accepted June 3, 2017.

© Copyright 2017 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association