BOSTON, Aug. 11 (UPI) — Massachusetts says new regulations will allow sex partners of patients with chlamydia to get a prescription for antibiotic treatment without seeing a doctor.
State health regulators say the new rules are aimed at controlling chlamydia, which is the most commonly reported sexually transmitted disease in the United States and endemic in some Boston neighborhoods, The Boston Globe reported Thursday.
Cases in the state have more than doubled, from roughly 8,700 in 1999 to more than 21,200 in 2010, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health said.
“Right now, if you treat someone and cure them, they could literally be reinfected within hours or days from an untreated sexual partner,” Kevin Cranston, the director of the department’s infectious disease bureau, said.
The rules approved by the Public Health Council allow health providers to prescribe or dispense antibiotics for potential chlamydia infections without examining the partners of infected patients.
A patient diagnosed with chlamydia would be given a prescription for each sexual partner, health officials said.
Treatment for most people is relatively simple, consisting of one dose of the antibiotic azithromycin.
“It’s really a one-hit, high-dose, kill-what’s-there, and you’re done,'” said Dr. Anita Barry, director of the infectious disease bureau of the Boston Public Health Commission.