In 2012, an Oregon woman who sued her date for giving her genital herpes won $900,000. And one tycoon allegedly had to pay $52 million for giving chlamydia to his mistress. It seems that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are a growth industry for lawyers.
Perhaps that's because nearly 2.3 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis were diagnosed in the U.S. in 2017. That’s 200,000 more than in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The good news is that those STDs, if diagnosed and treated correctly, are curable. The bad news? Too often, when one person is diagnosed and treated, his or her partner or partners aren’t.
To overcome that oversight and stop further spread of STDs, the CDC advocates "Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT) for STDs." The program has encouraged some states to allow doctors who diagnose a patient with an STD to write a prescription or provide medications for that person's partner, sight unseen, and clinics and pharmacies to distribute treatment for partners.
However, seven states and Puerto Rico don't advocate EPT, and South Carolina and Kentucky don't allow it.
A study in the American Journal of Public Health urges doctors (and states) to adopt EPT. But you also need to reduce your risk of getting and transmitting STDs. Here's how:
• Use a condom, unless you're tested, clear, and monogamous.
• If you suspect an STD, get tested.
• If you have an STD, get treated and ask for ETP.
• If you have an STD, tell your partner before you're intimate. That protects your partner from terrible surprises and in most states that protects you legally, if you transmit the infection.
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