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Informing Partners About STDs Helps Diminish Infections

Recurrence risk of some infections lower when patients are given drugs for partners

MONDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Encouraging patients to tell sex partners about sexually transmitted diseases shortens infections and improves outcomes, according to a report published Jan. 19 in the Online First edition of BMJ.

Nicola Low, M.D., of the University of Bern in Switzerland, and colleagues analyzed 14 studies involving 12,389 men and women diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection syndrome, chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis or non-gonococcal urethritis.

Five of six studies of patient-delivered partner therapy showed that lasting or recurrent infection risk was lower when gonorrhea or chlamydia patients were given drugs for partners. Giving partners extra information plus patient referrals (urging patients to tell partners to seek treatment) worked as well as giving patients drugs for their partners, the researchers report. Neither approach worked against trichomoniasis.

Two studies demonstrated that giving index chlamydia patients home testing kits for partners resulted in more treated partners, the report indicates.

"Involving index patients in shared responsibility for the management of sexual partners improves outcomes," the authors write. "Health professionals should consider the following strategies for the management of individual patients: patient delivered partner therapy, home sampling for partners, and providing additional information for partners."

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