Massachusetts OKs Rules to Foil Spread of Chlamydia
August 12, 2011
New rules approved by state health regulators will allow Massachusetts care providers to prescribe or dispense antibiotics for chlamydia to the sex partners of infected patients, without examining the partners.
"Right now, if you treat someone and cure them, they could literally be re-infected within hours or days from an untreated sexual partner," said Kevin Cranston, director of the state Public Health Department (DPH)'s infectious-disease bureau.
The Public Health Council, an appointed panel of physicians, consumer advocates, and professors, approved the regulation on Wednesday in the hope of reducing the rapid spread of chlamydia, particularly among young people. Cases of the STD have more than doubled over the last decade, from approximately 8,700 in 1999 to more than 21,200 in 2010, DPH data show.
Last year, chlamydia infection rates in people ages 15-19 were quadruple Boston's overall rate, records indicate. The highest rates were among black women ages 15-24. The neighborhoods hardest-hit were Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roxbury.
Chlamydia is often symptomless, but left untreated can lead to female infertility. Treatment for most patients is one dose (two pills) of azithromycin.
Patients diagnosed with chlamydia will now be given a prescription and a fact sheet for each sex partner. Cranston said the consumer-friendly fact sheets will be available in Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Haitian Creole. If funds allow, the information also will be published in Vietnamese and Khmer, he said.
08.11.2011; Kay Lazar
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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