Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT)

An amendment to the Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 22, Section 190.8 adopted in June 2009, by the Texas Medical Board expressly allows Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT). The exception created by this amendment acknowledges the serious impact of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Today, physicians can prescribe treatment for the sexual partner(s) of their established clients with sexually transmitted infections, without establishing a professional relationship with the partner(s) first.

In 2018, 145,874 cases of chlamydial infection and 46,958 cases of gonorrheal infection were reported in Texas. Most health care providers advise their clients with STIs to notify their sex partners. Yet, CDC estimates the proportion of partners who seek evaluation and treatment in response to patient referral ranges from 29% to 59%. Studies have demonstrated re-infection of treated index subjects by untreated partners accounts for 14% to 30% of incident bacterial STIs.

Expedited Partner Therapy is the harm-reduction strategy of treating partners of clients diagnosed with gonorrhea or chlamydia without an intervening medical evaluation or professional prevention counseling. EPT for partners of MSM should be based on shared clinical decision making between the client and their provider with consideration for risk of other STIs and HIV. The usual implementation of EPT is patient-delivered partner therapy, where clients deliver medications or prescriptions to their sexual partner(s). Other potential means to achieve EPT include prescriptive arrangements with cooperating pharmacies, retrieval of medication by partners at public health clinics, or delivery of medication to partners in non-clinical settings by public health workers.

DSHS recommends that all physicians provide expedited partner therapy. In Texas, as of February 2021, oral cefixime is still acceptable to use for EPT for partners of clients diagnosed with gonorrhea. EPT can reduce the risk of re-infection among persons treated for STIs, prevent infections, complications, and reduce transmission to un-infected persons. The benefits outweigh the few drawbacks of EPT.

See the  EPT fact sheet and other patient/partner education materials below to learn more.
 

EPT Training

EPT Documents