April 10, 2013
Hawaii lawmakers have deleted the word "homosexual" from legislation that would have excluded homosexuals from receiving expedited partner therapy for chlamydia and gonorrhea. Expedited partner therapy allows a medical provider to prescribe antibiotics for the partner of a person diagnosed with an STD without an examination.
The original language of Senate Bill 655 opened expedited partner therapy to all Hawaii residents. However, the Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee restricted the treatment option to heterosexuals because of a 2006 CDC recommendation that expedited partner therapy be used as a "last resort" for same-sex couples. Current studies are examining the effectiveness of expedited partner therapy for same-sex couples.
The standard treatment for chlamydia for all people is oral medication. Because of the development of resistant strains, intramuscular injections are the recommended gonorrhea treatment, according to Peter Whiticar, chief of the state Department of Health STD/AIDS Prevention Branch. Chlamydia rates in Hawaii are highest among people ages 15 to 24. Untreated chlamydia is especially dangerous for pregnant women.
Hawaii's House of Representatives will vote on the expedited partner therapy bill next Tuesday.