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Kansas City med students push for STD partner treatment

September 23, 2018 GMT

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City University medical students are pushing for a partner treatment plan for sexually transmitted diseases amid rising local and national STD rates.

Students Mianna Armstrong and Megan McMurray are bringing attention to the legal limits of expedited partner therapy in seven states, including Kansas and Oklahoma. The medical students and their professor John Paulson published research this year about the treatment plan to write prescriptions for both a patient diagnosed with an STD and their sexual partners, the Kansas City Star reported.

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The treatment outlines that STD patient’s sexual partners can get prescriptions even if the doctors or nurses haven’t personally examined them.

Missouri law explicitly allows licensed doctors to use expedited partner therapy to treat chlamydia and gonorrhea, though health officials still tread carefully. The practice is limited in Kansas law, which doesn’t address whether doctors can prescribe drugs to patients they haven’t seen.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that doctors and nurses practice expedited partner therapy for chlamydia and gonorrhea.

The American Osteopathic Association this summer drafted a resolution in line with the CDC recommendation. The association endorsed the legalization of expedited partner therapy in all states for doctors, in part due to Armstrong and McMurray’s research.

“We can advocate for (it), as an organization,” said Bill Mayo, the association’s president. “But we cannot draft legislation and pass laws.”

Mayo said the students’ research would inform state osteopathic associations’ positions on legislation.

Armstrong recommended that Congress standardize the patchwork of state laws by enacting federal legislation that allows expedited partner therapy.

“It can give people who don’t have access to health care access to the medications they need to treat the infection,” she said.