STD: Information for Health Care Professionals

Disease reporting​

Four smiling doctors

Wisconsin has dual STD reporting laws, which means both laboratories and health care providers must submit a report.
Laboratory reporting

Within 72 hours of identifying a case, laboratories should report the case to the patient's local public health department electronically, through the electronic laboratory report (ELR) via the Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance System (WEDSS), by mail, or fax using the Sexually Transmitted Disease Laboratory and Morbidity Epidemiologic Case Report, F-44243 or by other means.

Health care provider reporting

Within 72 hours of identifying a case, health care providers should report to the patient's local public health department electronically, through the electronic provider report (EPR) via the Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance System (WEDSS), by mail, or fax using the Sexually Transmitted Disease Laboratory and Morbidity Epidemiologic Case Report, F-44243 or by other means.

Treatment

Places for STD testing and treatment in WisconsinDoctor showing tablet to patient

There are many public clinics around the state, health care professionals can refer patients for STD testing and treat, as needed. Some of these locations offer expedited partner therapy (see below), as well. Have patients call the clinics before coming to find out their options.

2015 CDC STD treatment guidelines

This is the most recent version of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) STD treatment guidelines.

These updated guidelines discuss:

  • Alternative treatment regimens for Neisseria gonorrhoeae
  • The role of Mycoplasma genitalium in urethritis/cervicitis and treatment-related implications (Note: M. genitalium now has an FDA cleared test)
  • Diagnosis and treatment for syphilis as well as updated neurological manifestations
  • Annual testing for hepatitis C in persons with HIV infection
  • Updated recommendations for diagnostic evaluation of urethritis; and
  • Retesting to detect repeat infection.

Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT)

Teens taking a "selfie" picture together outside

If the patient believes their sex partner is unable to be tested and treated, this alternative STD partner management strategy is called expedited partner therapy (EPT) and is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prevent reinfection when other management strategies are impractical or unsuccessful.

The Wisconsin Act 280 regarding EPT explicitly allows medical providers to prescribe, dispense or furnish medication for a patient’s partner if diagnosed with trichomoniasis, gonorrhea, or chlamydia trachomatis infection without a medical evaluation of the partner.

An EPT fact sheet should be distributed to the original patient by health care professionals providing an EPT prescription and/or medication.

EPT treatment fact sheets and presentation

This PowerPoint presentation discusses the epidemiology of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis; partner services, EPT specifically; and the legislation that brought EPT to Wisconsin.

EPT guidance for health care professionals

This guidance for health professionals will cover how EPT works and the legislation that covers physicians and other health professionals to prescribe EPT.

EPT guidance for pharmacists
EPT resources from CDC

Here are some additional resources from the CDC regarding EPT.

Partner Services

Two adults meeting in an office

What are Partner Services?

The primary purpose of Partner Services is to ensure the spread of STDs is contained by contacting the sexual partners of patients and ensuring those partners are tested and/or treated based on confidential conversations with the patient.  Partner Services can also assist health care professionals a number of ways when dealing with the treatment and/or further testing of the patient.

The law requires certain STDs are reported to the local health department or to Division of Public Health (DPH). The law also requires DPH and local health departments to follow-up on STDs which are reportable.  This may mean someone may contact both health care professionals and patients about the status of the patient.

Who can receive Partner Services?

Anyone who tests positive for a state reportable STD can receive Partner Services at no cost to them.

What services are provided by Partner Services staff to health care professionals?

Partner Services can provide a number of services which may be very necessary for the treatment and follow-up of a patient including:

  • Provide health care professionals, who are taking care of the patient, information about previous testing and treatment.  This can include if the patient was tested and/or treated for an STD outside of Wisconsin.  This is especially helpful if a patient has a previous history of syphilis infection which is here in Wisconsin but not documented or outside of Wisconsin.
  • Help contact difficult to locate patients about the need for additional testing and/or treatment. 
What services are provided by Partner Services staff to patients?

Health Department staff will contact patients and request to either meet in person or talk on the phone.  Everything talked about is, by law, CONFIDENTIAL.  The Partner Services staff:

  • Helps with the needs of the patient including the need for more testing or treatment.
  • Discusses what the STD is and how it affects the patient now and in the future.
  • Comes up with a plan to contact partners of the patient. Note: when partners are contacted by the Partner Services staff, none of the information about the patient is discussed. It is as if the conversation with the patient never took place.
  • Partner Services staff ensures that partners of the patient are also tested and/or treated correctly according to the latest STD treatment guidelines.
  • Talk with the patient about risks and how the risks can possibly be reduced in the future.
How can I get more information about Partner Services?

Any health care professional can contact a Partner Services provider on this Wisconsin STD Program staff list.

Fact Sheets

Health care professionals interact with patients who have sexually transmitted diseases or need to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases.  Helping patients understand how syphilis is spread, what are some of the signs and symptoms of syphilis, different testing and treatment options, and ways of preventing getting syphilis can be important to the health of the patients they are serving.  Patients may need additional time to understand these diseases and fact sheets can help them achieve this.  The following are fact sheets which are specific for health care professionals:

Additionally, there are fact sheets which use patient-centered language. These are available in English, Spanish, and Hmong:

Last Revised: January 6, 2020