Background: Young adults, including college students, have higher rates of chlamydial infection than the general population. The CDC recommends patient-delivered partner therapy (PDPT) as a partner treatment option for sex partners of individuals diagnosed with chlamydia or gonorrhea. We examined college health center use of PDPT in a national sample of colleges.
Methods: Data were collected from a nationwide survey of 482 colleges (55%/885 surveyed) during 2014-2015. We asked whether the college had a student health center, which sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services were offered, and surveyed health insurance requirements and health service delivery policies. We compared PDPT availability to all other choices (no, don’t know, non-response) and measured associations between variables via chi-squares.
Results: Most colleges (n = 367, 76.0%) reported having a student health center; PDPT was available at 142 (38.7%) colleges. PDPT was significantly associated with availability of SRH services such as diagnosis and treatment of STI (55.7% vs. 0.9%), gynecological services (59.2% vs. 13.9%), and contraceptive services such as LARC (70.9% vs. 29.9%) and emergency contraception (61.5% vs. 16.2%), all p <.001. PDPT was more likely to be available at colleges that encouraged patient partner notification (56.3%) or notified partners directly (72.7%), than at schools without partner notification (10.6%), p <.001. PDPT availability was also associated with mandatory health insurance (47.7% vs. 32.1%), school-sponsored insurance plans (46.1% vs. 30.7%), and asymptomatic screening (52.6% vs. 30.4%), all p <.01. PDPT was offered in 71.5% of schools in states where the respondent believed PDPT was legal and in 18.2% - 36.4% of schools where the respondent believed PDPT was illegal, uncertain or other, p <.001.
Conclusions: PDPT was more likely to be available in colleges that offered SRH services and where staff believed PDPT was legal. Further research could explore the conditions under which PDPT is used (e.g., PDPT-related confidentiality policies).