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New York's plan to stop STIs

New York's plan to stop STIs
Photo by Marcelo Chagas for Pexels

The city wants doctors to prescribe a preventative drug that can stop diseases like syphilis.

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene took a bold step in early 2024, becoming one of the only such departments in the country to release guidelines to health care providers on the use of doxycycline (doxy-PEP) to prevent bacterial sexually-transmitted infections.

The push by New York’s health department to encourage the use of doxy-PEP, when appropriate, follows recent data showing a rise in syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea in the nation’s largest city. The health department’s guidelines were finalized and released before the federal Centers for Disease Control offered formal directives on whether doctors should prescribe doxy-PEP to prevent STIs. The New York guidelines pertain to cisgender men who have sex with men and transgender women with a recent history of STIs.

“Unfortunately, many people in these groups don’t know about doxy-PEP,” Pedro F. Frisneda, Deputy Press Secretary, for the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said in a statement.

The guidelines suggest 200 mg — two 100 mg pills — of doxycycline be administered within 24-72 hours of condomless sex; data has shown that such a dose reduces the incidence of bacterial STIs.

“Our goal is to ensure that patients who may benefit from doxy-PEP are aware of the intervention and that access to doxy-PEP in New York City is equitable,” Frisneda said.

Part of New York’s guidelines to doctors and health care providers includes the suggestion they present information to patients on the “effectiveness, benefits, and risks of doxy-PEP” along with other options to help prevent STIs.

For more information on doxy-PEP and the new guidelines, click here.

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