When a heterosexual woman is diagnosed with chlamydia or gonorrhea, treatment has traditionally included advising her male partner (or partners) to visit a doctor for antibiotics. Now, guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that ob-gyns write prescriptions directly for a woman’s male partner.
Chlamydia and gonorrhea are the most common sexually transmitted diseases (human papillomavirus, or HPV, is the most common sexually transmitted infection) in the United States. For women 50 and up, both infections can lead to serious pelvic infections if they go untreated. A simple urine test can quickly diagnose the problem, and a short course of antibiotics will clear up the infection.
It’s important that men be treated to avoid re-infecting a female partner, even if they have no symptoms. Chlamydia can lead to diseases of the male urinary tract, and gonorrhea can cause a painful condition in the tubes attached to the testicles.
Not every state allows doctors to prescribe antibiotics to people they haven’t examined. Although the practice is permitted in most states, a few states still prohibit it. In response to the current guidelines, more doctors are pushing for legalization in states where it is outlawed.
This article first appeared on Berkeley Wellness.