New Partner Management Option Implemented for Controlling Sexually Transmitted Disease in Wisconsin

Wisconsin has introduced expedited partner therapy (EPT) legislation for more than a decade. EPT - which allows sex partners of patients diagnosed with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) to receive medication or a prescription without a prior medical evaluation- is considered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be a useful option to prevent persistent or re-current chlamydia or gonorrhea infection when other partner management strategies are impractical or unsuccessful. In Wisconsin there are more bacterial STDs reported than all other reportable communicable diseases combined. Over 30,000 cases were reported in Wisconsin in 2008, according to the STD Control Program at the Wisconsin Division of Public Health, and the rate of STDs has increased 33% in Wisconsin from 1999 to 2008.

As the Department of Health Services prepared to deliver research and guidance related to the re-introduction of EPT legislation, Marisa Stanley, a first-year Fellow working in the Bureau of Communicable Disease and Emergency Response, was called upon to help. With her preceptor, former Fellow Casey Schumann, AIDS/HIV Program Director and Fellowship mentor, Jim Vergeront, and the staff of the STD Control Program, Marisa researched legislation from other states, helped draft legislative language and organized testimony for the legislative hearings related to the public health initiative. She worked with the STD Control Program to develop educational documents for health care providers, patients and pharmacists. With successful passage of the legislation in 2010, Marisa is now working to ensure appropriate implementation and evaluation of the program.