Expedited partner therapy could help check STD cases



With a statewide spike in sexually transmitted diseases, the Missouri House is looking to get one step ahead.

House Bill 1504, sponsored by Juanita Head Walton (D-Florissant) would allow for “expedited partner therapy.” Licensed physicians would be able to treat the sexual partners of patients diagnosed with Chlamydia or Gonorrhea with out an exam.

The committee, pursuant to rule 25, unanimously passed the bill Tuesday.

“Driving through the St. Louis area Gonorrhea might jump in your window,” said committee chairman Rep. Shannon Cooper (R- Clinton)

Though the bill has met little resistance, the issue of doctors treating patients without an exam has caused controversy.

“I’m just supposed to take whatever and hope I don’t end up with the clap?” said Kelsey Rush, Joplin resident, “I’ll be better off just staying away from it all together.”

Though the bill looks to stay a step ahead of the sexually transmitted diseases, expedited partner therapy may only be used in a county health facility or district if the local case rate for Chlamydia or Gonorrhea are at least 20 percent higher than the last years total or the local rate is one half times the newest national statistic.

Physicians will also be granted immunity from resulting civil liability unless they acted recklessly, in bad faith, or with malicious purpose.

Currently, expedited partner therapy is allowed in 11 states, prohibited in 13 and under consideration in 28 states, including Missouri.

“It’s a great idea in theory, but who’s going to police who gets meds and who doesn’t?” Rush said.