August 1, 2005
Giving men with STDs antibiotics to take to their partner(s) is an effective way to stop the spread of STDs says Tulane University epidemiologist Patricia Kissinger. "Typically when a person is diagnosed with an STD such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, clinicians tell them to go to their partner, talk about the diagnosis and tell their partner to come in for treatment.
Unfortunately, we know that approach results in treatment in less than half of those situations," says Kissinger. "Our study shows that when an infected person - in this case, the men - takes antibiotics to their partners, their partners are almost three times more likely to take the treatment than if they had to come into the clinic themselves."
Kissinger and colleagues recruited 977 New Orleans men diagnosed between 2001 and 2004 with urethritis caused by chlamydia or gonorrhea. The men were either counseled and told to talk to their partner about their diagnosis; counseled to give their partner a provided booklet about the disease with a referral card; or counseled and given antibiotics for their partner. All men received the same antibiotic treatment as partners, only at the clinic.
Follow-up interviews four weeks later indicated that, compared to men who were asked to refer their partners for treatment, men who were asked to give antibiotics to their partners were:
- More likely to talk to their partner about the infection.
- More likely to check that she/he was getting treated and actually taking the medicine.
- Less likely to have sex with their partners before treatment was completed.
- Less likely to have unprotected sex with their partners before the follow-up interview.
- Less likely to have been re-infected with the STD.
Study results are published in the September 1 edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases, available online at: www.journals.uchicago.edu/CID/journal/home.html
Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 email@example.com