COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) – A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows South Carolina ranks fourth in infection rates for both gonorrhea and chlamydia.
To help cut down on the spread of these treatable sexually transmitted diseases doctors in the state have another tool at their disposal again. It’s called ‘expedited partner therapy.’
Earlier this year, the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners issued a position statement that allows the practice of ‘expedited partner therapy’ in the state.
The practice was legal in South Carolina until 2013. Then, the board rescinded the policy because of the need to establish a physician-patient relationship as a prerequisite to prescribing medication.
Resident OB/GYN Dr. Katee Wyant says giving physicians in South Carolina the ability to do this is a good thing.
“We were one of two states in the country that didn’t have expedited partner therapy, so it’s nice we can do it again,” she said.
The therapy is recommended by the CDC to help slow the spread of these STDs. It is the clinical practice of treating the sexual partner(s) of a patient diagnosed with chlamydia or gonorrhea without them needing to step foot in the doctor’s office.
Physicians in South Carolina can now provide prescriptions to a patient to give to their partner or partners. The partner can fill the prescription and begin treatment. Doctors recommend they get tested or follow up with their physician.
“We know even if you may have gotten it from someone else you can still transmit it to them,” Wyant said. “The idea is to hopefully stop or slow the spread of these diseases.”
According to Wyant, some patients are often unaware they have these diseases until they are screened during pregnancy.
“It’s something that could potentially affect your entire future and the future of your child,” she said. “It’s a very serious thing.”
To read the state Board of Medical Examiners position click or tap here.