Use of Patient-Delivered Partner Therapy in US College Settings: Associations With Legality, Perceived Legality and Other Sexual and Reproductive Health Services

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Abstract

Background

Young adults, including college students, have higher rates of chlamydia than the general population. Patient-delivered partner therapy (PDPT) is a partner treatment option for sex partners of individuals diagnosed with chlamydia or gonorrhea. We examined college health center use of PDPT in a national sample of colleges.

Methods

During 2014 to 2015, we collected data from 482 colleges and universities (55% of 885 surveyed), weighting responses by institutional characteristics abstracted from a national database (eg, 2-year vs 4-year status). We asked whether the school had a student health center and which sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services were offered. We also assessed the legal and perceived legal status of PDPT in states where schools were located. We then estimated PDPT availability at student health centers and measured associations with legal status and SRH services.

Results

Most colleges (n = 367) reported having a student health center; PDPT was available at 36.6% of health centers and associated with perceived legality of PDPT in the state in which the college was located (odds ratio [OR], 4.63; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.17–18.28). Patient-delivered partner therapy was significantly associated with availability of SRH services, including sexually transmitted disease diagnosis and treatment of STI (56.2% vs 1.1%), gynecological services (60.3% vs 12.2%), and contraceptive services (57.8% vs 7.7%) (all P < .001). Compared with schools taking no action, PDPT was more likely to be available at schools that notified partners directly (OR, 8.29; 95% CI, 1.28–53.85), but not schools that asked patients to notify partners (OR, 3.47; 95% CI, 0.97–12.43).

Conclusions

PDPT was more likely to be available in colleges that offered SRH services and where staff believed PDPT was legal. Further research could explore more precise conditions under which PDPT is used.

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