The Oregon Medical Board (OMB or “Board”) recognizes that the adequate treatment of sexually transmitted chlamydia and gonorrhea infections has always been a difficult public health issue. When Chlamydia and gonorrhea are identified in a patient, the adequate treatment and prevention of recurrence in the patient often depends upon treatment of the patient’s partner or partners, who may not be available or agreeable for direct examination.
The OMB recognizes that it is a common practice for healthcare practitioners to provide antibiotics for the partner(s) without prior examination. This is known as Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT) and, as such, is encouraged by the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) Office of Family Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in situations where a face-to-face examination of the partner by a physician is unlikely or impractical.
While this is not ideal in terms of the diagnosis and control of chlamydia and gonorrhea, the OMB recognizes that this is often the only reasonable way to access and treat the partner(s) and impact the personal and public health risks of continued, or additional, chlamydial and gonorrheal infections.
When using EPT, the OMB urges practitioners to use all reasonable efforts to assure that appropriate information and advice are made available to the absent, treated third party or parties.
The OMB emphasizes that the use of EPT for conditions other than sexually transmitted disease caused specifically by chlamydia or gonococcus would be considered unprofessional conduct that might lead to disciplinary action. This is based on the Board’s previous determination that physicians should not write prescriptions unless they have conducted an adequate encounter with the patient, and documented this encounter in the medical record.
-Adopted April 2007