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Immediate access to antibiotics stems spread of sexually transmitted diseases

most patients, often those in the poorest communities with limited resources, to make arrangements on their own for the partner's care."

The 2003 rate for gonorrhea in the United States, the most recent available, is 117 per 100,000 people. This figure is nowhere near meeting the objectives of the federal Department of Health and Human Services' 2010 Healthy People Initiative, which is 19 per 100,000, Erbelding adds.

In the study, which was led by Hopkins-trained University of Washington researcher Matthew Golden, M.D., newly infected patients and their sexual partners were randomly assigned to one of two groups and offered either a standard referral for the partner or expedited treatment for the partner. Where a patient was not willing to talk to their partner about treatment, health workers attempted to notify and counsel the partner.

In the standard-referral group, patients and health workers advised the partners to seek treatment at a free clinic. For the group receiving expedited treatment, the health care team offered free packets of medication, a written prescription or directly mailed medication for up to three partners. Patients and partners in both treatment groups were retested and interviewed three months later to determine who had received treatment and whether anyone had been re-infected.

For gonorrhea, the expedited-treatment group showed a 3 percent re-infection rate compared to 11 percent among the standard-referral group. Results showed a similar trend for Chlamydia, with the expedited-treatment group showing an 11 percent re-infection rate, while the standard-referral group had 13 percent.

Packets contained the standard treatment for each STD, which is one tablet each of cefixime (400 milligrams) for gonorrhea and azithromycin (1 gram) for Chlamydia. Also included in the packets were condoms and health information on STD transmission and medication side effects.

More than 1,800 women and
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Contact: David March
dmarch1@jhmi.edu
410-955-1534
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
16-Feb-2005


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