Neb. Lawmakers Advance Bill Expanding Access to STI Treatment

March 29, 2013 — Nebraska lawmakers on Wednesday advanced a bill (LB 528) on a 32-3 vote that would allow health care providers to prescribe antibiotics to the sexual partners of patients infected with chlamydia or gonorrhea without the partner having to visit the doctor, the AP/Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports (Schulte, AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 3/27).

The bill would require providers to call the partners to check allergies and verify their identities before writing the second prescription.

Some doctors in the state already write prescriptions for the partners of patients with sexually transmitted infections, but some have been hesitant to do so because state law is silent on the matter.

State Sen. Sara Howard, the bill's sponsor, said she introduced the measure to help address high STI rates in the state. Douglas County, Neb., has the highest chlamydia rate in the nation, and the state as a whole ranked behind 31 others for gonorrhea rates in 2011.

Opponents of the bill argued that it would "promote promiscuity" (Stoddard, "Live Well," Omaha World-Herald, 3/28).