In 2022, “the Bacterial STIs are globally on the risethe HIV epidemic is still very active and the delay in diagnosis persists, especially for people far from the health system”, warns the High Authority for Health in a press release (source 1). Faced with this worrying observation and while the Covid-19 pandemic has slowed down the screening and prevention of STIs, the HAS publishes new recommendations.
Notification to partners
The High Authority for Health recommends a new measure in the fight against STIs: the notification to partners. The principle is simple: encourage the diagnosed patient “to inform their sexual partner(s) to lead them to get tested” in turn. “By reaching a population at higher risk”, the objective is obviously to break the chain of transmission, but also to “minimize associated morbidity and mortalityto a sexually transmitted infection.
The patient could choose how he informs his sexual partners. To enable the greatest possible number of notifications, with a evolution of “the current legislation concerning professional secrecy“, health professionals for example could take the step with the patient’s agreement, if he does not wish to do so.
Some cases call for an even more urgent notification. “The HAS insists on the fact that the notification must be made without delay :
- for the STIs that can be treated or those for which treatment can limit or even eliminate the risk of transmission, the serious complications linked to the infection, or even its chronic nature;
- if the risk of transmission or severe consequences for partner(s) is high;
- whether preventive measures can be proposed;
- when the partner is a pregnant woman or breastfeeding in order to avoid any risk of transmission to the fetus or newborn.
Implementing accelerated partner processing
Another strategy proposed by the HAS: authorize the Expedited Partner Processing (TAP). The principle: to allow the sexual partners of the patient diagnosed with an STI to “benefit in certain cases from appropriate treatment, initiated early.” The patient is then given a treatment prescription for his/her partner(s) “without prior consultation with the latter”. This measure would allow “the partners to be treated as soon as possible especially when there are no symptoms and it is known that they will not go to a doctor or approach the health system”.
These measures, which are intended to be tools “in their own right in the fight against STIs”, would be added to the other preventative measures existing ones: wearing a condom during sexual intercourse – free for those under 26 since last January – and regular screening.
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