Background: Louisiana had the highest rate of gonorrhea in the U.S in 2011 with 202.3 cases per 100,000 population and the New Orleans area having a high concentration of the state’s morbidity with 499.7 cases per 100,000. In 2008, a Louisiana law was passed authorizing Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT) and in February 2009 procedures were finalized allowing prescriptions to be provided to patients with gonorrhea and/or chlamydia to give to their sexual partners. Enhanced case-based surveillance occurred in the New Orleans area from 2009-2013 as part of the STD Surveillance Network (SSuN). We sought to look at patient-reported EPT receipt stratified by provider type.
Methods: As a SSuN site, Louisiana conducted interviews with individuals with gonorrhea in the New Orleans area, collecting standardized data elements. From 2009-2013, 1,000 interviews were conducted. We analyzed data elements regarding EPT and partner treatment, stratified by provider type.
Results: Out of the 1,000 interviewed patients, only 93 (9.3%) reported that they had received a prescription from their provider to give to their partner. The majority of EPT prescriptions were provided by STD clinics (63%) followed by public/non-STD clinics (16%), private physicians (12%), school-based clinics (3%), hospitals (3%), and family planning/OBGYN clinics (2%). No EPT was reported to be given at HIV care clinics, emergency rooms/urgent cares, or military clinics. When asked about treatment of sexual partners, 37% of patients reported that they were unsure if their partner had been treated.
Conclusions: While EPT has been a legal health-care practice in Louisiana since 2009, it remains under-utilized according to patients in the New Orleans area with gonorrhea. In response to STD AAPPS, the Louisiana STD/HIV Program is planning greater provider engagement that includes educating providers about services and policies, such as EPT, in order to prevent gonorrhea infections.