HERPES TESTING FOR PARTNERS?
As an obstetrician/gynecologist, am I obligated to offer testing to the male partner of a patient who has tested positive for herpes?
—Fred Nichols, DO, Sparta, N.J.
The clinician who first detects a sexually transmitted disease has an
obligation to inform the partner, if possible (i.e., when the partner is known). This is usually done by letter given to the patient, but the more certain way is to mail the letter to an address obtained from the patient, whenever this is practicable. Form notification letters are generally available from specialty societies or state agencies and can be modified as needed. There is no obligation for the clinician to actually order the test on the partner, although doing so is, in fact, quite common.
—David S. Starr, MD, JD (101-14)