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Stopping STDs in Their Tracks

Giving infected people antibiotics for their partners cut rate of re-transmission

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 3, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- When a patient is diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease (STD), giving them antibiotics to deliver to their sex partners can help prevent the spread or recurrence of the infection, U.S. researchers report.

The study of 977 men from an STD clinic in New Orleans found that providing the men (who had been diagnosed with chlamydia or gonorrhea) with antibiotics to give to their sex partners was more effective than traditional methods of trying to contact and treat those partners.

When given the medicine to take to their female sex partners, the men were more likely to see and talk to their sex partners about the STD than when the men were simply told to inform their partners about their STD exposure, according to the report in the Sept. 1 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

About 70 percent of the men who were given the antibiotics to treat their sex partners gave the intervention to their partners, compared with 48 percent of men who were told to tell their partners to get treated for the STD, and 58 percent of the men who were told to tell their partners and to also give them a referral card.

The study also found that the men in the patient-delivered partner treatment group and the card referral group were far less likely than the men in the standard partner referral group to re-test positive for chlamydia or gonorrhea.

Despite the effectiveness of patient-delivered partner treatment, this approach is not yet widely used, mainly due to unfounded fears among doctors, noted study author Patricia Kissinger of Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

"Clinicians have fears of legal liability, particularly if the partners have side effects. In three randomized trials [on patient-delivered partner treatment] that have been conducted, there have been no reports of adverse events," Kissinger said in a prepared statement.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about STDs.

SOURCE: Infectious Diseases Society of America, news release, July 27, 2005
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