House Health and Human Resources Committee talks about treating STDs

The Health and Human Resources Committee of the WV House of Delegates debated methods of treating sexually transmitted diseases during its Jan. 20 afternoon meeting.

Under House Bill 2046, a health care professional would be able to prescribe antibiotics for the partner or partners of a patient who is treated for an STD without first having to conduct an examination of the disclosed partner or partners.

Additionally, the Department of Health and Human Resources would be responsible for developing outreach materials and file a legislative rule under which STDs may be treated.

While Dr. Rahul Gupta, commissioner of the Bureau for Public Health and state health officer, said such a measure would reduce the social and economic impacts of STDs, legislative committee members expressed concern with certain aspects of the proposed measure.

One concern was that no age limit was defined within the proposed bill and because no parental consent would be necessary, school-aged children and minors could be given medication without a parent alerting the physician any potential allergies. The fact that the physician could then be held for limited liability in that scenario also caused some committee members concern.

While Gupta said that scenario is a possibility, there also are safety checks in place, including going through several people, such as pharmacists, primary caregivers and disease tracking specialists, before medication is administered. However, because the proposed legislation would allow antibiotics to be prescribed or dispensed to the disclosed party without an examination, some argue those checks would be slightly weakened.

Other delegates of the committee expressed concern that no parental consent or notification would even be necessary.

The bill also is scheduled to be debated in the House Judiciary Committee before the full House of Delegates takes a vote.

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House Health and Human Resources Committee talks about treating STDs
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