If you suspect you have contracted a sexually transmitted infection (STI), you may be able to find treatment at your local clinic for free, but how do you get your sexual partner treated if they are unwilling to go to the clinic with you. Unfortunately, if they are not treated, you run the risk of being reinfected, and they run the risk of continuing to spread the infection they have. The good news is, there may be an answer if you visit a clinic that practices Expedited Partner Therapy. Not only will the clinic treat you, but they will treat your partner, sight unseen.
What Are Sexually Transmitted Infections?
Sexually transmitted infections, sexually transmitted diseases (STD), or venereal diseases (VD) are all the same things. These are diseases which are spread through close, intimate contact, which is usually sexual in nature, with another person. Sexually transmitted infections are caused by more than 30 different viruses, bacterium, and even parasites.
While many of these infections may not have symptoms initially, if you are infected, you pose a risk of passing the infection on to others. You may begin to develop symptoms over a period of time. These symptoms may include:
- Burning and itching in your pelvic area
- Vaginal or penile discharge
- Painful urination
- Pelvic or testicular pain
- Bleeding during intercourse
- Strong vaginal odor
- Bumps, sores, lesions, or ulcers in your mouth or pelvic area
- Change in bowel habits
- Swollen lymph nodes, and more
It is important that, if you begin to exhibit any type of unusual signs or symptoms, you be seen by a medical professional. While some sexually transmitted infections are relatively easy to treat, others are much more difficult to get rid of, but all respond to treatment better when they are in the early stages versus the later stages of the infection.
Some of the most common sexually transmitted infections include:
- Genital Herpes
- Genital Warts
Although the only way to guarantee protection from the transmission of sexually transmitted infections is through abstinence, condoms do reduce your risk of contracting, as well as transmitting, these infections.
What Is Expedited Partner Therapy?
Once you are infected with a sexually transmitted infection that can be cured, both you and your partner will need to be treated. If one of you are treated and the other is not, you run the risk of your treatment not working because you are at risk of being reinfected by the partner that is not treated.
Unfortunately, sometimes getting your partner to be treated often has major hurdles. Some of these are denial, or your partner's refusal to seek treatment, or the cost and time involved in going to the medical appointment. If you receive your treatment through a free clinic, the cost is taken care of, but your partner still may not be able or willing to take time off from work to seek treatment.
With these factors in mind, certain providers within the medical community have started to treat certain sexually transmitted infections differently than others. They have begun to offer Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT) to patients who are infected with Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. Under this form of treatment, once you are diagnosed by a medical professional, your medical provider will ask you to identify how many people you have had sexual contact with in the last 60 days.
Once this is determined, you will be given doses of medication to share with your partners, even though the physician does not know for sure your partners are infected. This allows you to be treated and gives you the ability to assist in getting your partner treated without them having to come in for medical testing and treatment.
This model has been shown to treat more people than the standard partner referral model used by other practitioners, get partners treated quicker, and be more cost effective. Unfortunately, this treatment model is not supported, or even legal, in every state. Currently, Florida, Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia prohibit the use of this model. Eight other states have mixed laws and regulations on their books that make it potentially allowable.
If you are treated for a sexually transmitted infection, and you know you will have difficulty getting your partner in for treatment, ask your medical provider if they are willing to give you the medication to take to your partner. Hopefully, you will be working with a provider, or free clinic, that practices Expedited Partner Therapy.
For more information about treatment for STDs, contact a local clinic like Safer STD Testing.