Michigan Radio (09.30.12)
A proposed bill in the State of Michigan would allow doctors to prescribe medication for the partner of a patient with a sexually transmitted disease (STD) without examining the partner. The process is termed expedited partner therapy, and in this instance, the law is being applied to chlamydia and gonorrhea. If left untreated, these two diseases can seriously damage a woman’s reproductive system and cause pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, and infertility. Also, infection with these diseases can increase the risk of contracting HIV. According to Karen Krzanowski, manager of the STD program at the Michigan Department of Community Health, “ideally anyone who has tested positive for these diseases or knows they’ve been exposed should see their physician or visit the local health department for treatment.” Krzanowski explains that sometimes partners are “not willing” to go for treatment. In those circumstances, the patient being seen would be given a prescription for the partner. The health department is particularly concerned about young women because of the danger to their reproductive organs. In 2011, more than 50,000 cases of chlamydia and more than 13,000 cases of gonorrhea were reported in Michigan. Krzanwoski noted that at present, Michigan is one of seven states that prohibit expedited partner therapy.