How social representations of sexually transmitted infections influence experiences of genito-urinary symptoms and care-seeking in Britain: mixed methods study protocol.

Mapp, F; Hickson, F; Mercer, CH; Wellings, K; (2016) How social representations of sexually transmitted infections influence experiences of genito-urinary symptoms and care-seeking in Britain: mixed methods study protocol. BMC Public Health, 16. p. 548. ISSN 1471-2458 DOI:

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BACKGROUND: Trachoma is the leading infectious cause of blindness and is caused by ocular infection with the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis (Ct). While the majority of the global disease burden is found in sub-Saharan Africa, the Western Pacific Region has been identified as trachoma endemic. Population surveys carried out throughout Fiji have shown an abundance of both clinically active trachoma and trachomatous trichiasis in all divisions. This finding is at odds with the clinical experience of local healthcare workers who do not consider trachoma to be highly prevalent. We aimed to determine whether conjunctival infection with Ct could be detected in one administrative division of Fiji.<br/> METHODS: A population-based survey of 2306 individuals was conducted using the Global Trachoma Mapping Project methodology. Population prevalence of active trachoma in children and trichiasis in adults was estimated using the World Health Organization simplified grading system. Conjunctival swabs were collected from 1009 children aged 1-9 years. DNA from swabs was tested for the presence of the Ct plasmid and human endogenous control.<br/> RESULTS: The prevalence of active trachoma in 1-9 year olds was 3.4%. The age-adjusted prevalence was 2.8% (95% CI: 1.4-4.3%). The unadjusted prevalence of ocular Ct infection in 1-9 year-olds was 1.9% (19/1009), and the age-adjusted infection prevalence was 2.3% (95% CI: 0.4-2.5%). The median DNA load was 41 Ct plasmid copies per swab (min 20, first quartile 32, mean 6665, third quartile 161, max 86354). There was no association between current infection and follicular trachoma. No cases of trachomatous trichiasis were identified.<br/> DISCUSSION: The Western Division of Fiji has a low prevalence of clinical trachoma. Ocular Ct infections were observed, but they were predominantly low load infections and were not correlated with clinical signs. Our study data suggest that trachoma does not meet the WHO definition of a public health problem in this Division of Fiji, but the inconsistency with previous studies warrants further investigation.<br/> BACKGROUND: Mathematical models suggest that 570,000 HIV infections could be averted between 2011 and 2025 in Zimbabwe if the country reaches 80% voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) coverage among 15- to 49-year-old male subjects. Yet national coverage remains well below this target, and there is a need to evaluate interventions to increase the uptake.<br/> METHODS: A cluster-randomized trial was conducted to assess the effectiveness of Make-The-Cut-Plus (MTC+), a single, 60-minute, sport-based intervention to increase VMMC uptake targeting secondary school boys (14-20 years). Twenty-six schools in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, were randomized to either receive MTC+ at the start (intervention) or end (control) of a 4-month period (March to June 2014). VMMC uptake over these 4 months was measured via probabilistic matching of participants in the trial database (n = 1226 male participants; age, 14-20 years; median age, 16.2 years) and the registers in Bulawayo\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s 2 free VMMC clinics (n = 5713), using 8 identifying variables.<br/> RESULTS: There was strong evidence that the MTC+ intervention increased the odds of VMMC uptake by approximately 2.5 fold (odds ratio = 2.53; 95% confidence interval, 1.21 to 5.30). Restricting to participants who did not report being already circumcised at baseline, MTC+ increased VMMC uptake by 7.6% (12.2% vs 4.6%, odds ratio = 2.65; 95% confidence interval, 1.19 to 5.86). Sensitivity analyses related to the probabilistic matching did not change these findings substantively. The number of participants who would need to be exposed to the demand creation intervention to yield one additional VMMC client was 22.7 (or 13.2 reporting not already being circumcised). This translated to approximately US dollar 49 per additional VMMC client.<br/> CONCLUSIONS: The MTC+ intervention was an effective and cost-effective strategy for increasing VMMC uptake among school-going adolescent male subjects in Bulawayo.<br/> BACKGROUND: Clinical trials of PI monotherapy indicate that most participants maintain viral suppression and emergent protease resistance is rare. However, outcomes among patients receiving PI monotherapy for clinical reasons, such as toxicity or adherence issues, are less well studied.<br/> METHODS: An observational study of patients attending an HIV treatment centre in London, UK, who had received PI monotherapy between 2004 and 2013, was conducted using prospectively collected clinical data and genotypic resistance reports. Survival analysis techniques were used to examine the times to virological failure and treatment discontinuation.<br/> RESULTS: Ninety-five patients had PI monotherapy treatment for a median duration of 126 weeks. Virological failure occurred during 64% of episodes and 8% of patients developed emergent protease mutations. We estimate failure occurs in half of episodes within 2 years following initiation. Where PI monotherapy was continued following virological failure, 68% of patients achieved viral re-suppression. Despite a high incidence of virological failure, many patients continued PI monotherapy and 79% of episodes were ongoing at the end of the study. The type of PI used, the presence of baseline protease mutations and the plasma HIV RNA at initiation did not have a significant impact on treatment outcomes.<br/> CONCLUSIONS: There was a higher incidence of virological failure and emerging resistance in our UK clinical setting than described in PI monotherapy clinical trials and other European observational studies. Despite this, many patients continued PI monotherapy and regained viral suppression, indicating this strategy remains a viable option in certain individuals following careful clinical evaluation.<br/> BACKGROUND: The importance of fevers not due to malaria [non-malaria fevers, NMFs] in children in sub-Saharan Africa is increasingly being recognised. We have investigated the influence of exposure-related factors and placental malaria on the risk of non-malaria fevers among children in Kintampo, an area of Ghana with high malaria transmission.<br/> METHODS: Between 2008 and 2011, a cohort of 1855 newborns was enrolled and followed for at least 12 months. Episodes of illness were detected by passive case detection. The primary analysis covered the period from birth up to 12 months of age, with an exploratory analysis of a sub-group of children followed for up to 24 months.<br/> RESULTS: The incidence of all episodes of NMF in the first year of life (first and subsequent) was 1.60 per child-year (95 % CI 1.54, 1.66). The incidence of NMF was higher among infants with low birth weight [adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) 1.22 (95 % CI 1.04-1.42) p = 0.012], infants from households of poor socio-economic status [aHR 1.22 (95 % CI 1.02-1.46) p = 0.027] and infants living furthest from a health facility [aHR 1.20 (95 % CI 1.01-1.43) p = 0.037]. The incidence of all episodes of NMF was similar among infants born to mothers with or without placental malaria [aHR 0.97 (0.87, 1.08; p = 0.584)].<br/> CONCLUSION: The incidence of NMF in infancy is high in the study area. The incidence of NMF is associated with low birth weight and poor socioeconomic status but not with placental malaria.<br/> BACKGROUND: Social understandings of sexually transmitted infections and associated symptoms and care-seeking behaviour continue to lag behind advancements in biomedical diagnostics and treatment, perpetuating the burden of disease. There is a lack of research linking perceptions, experiences and care-seeking for sexual health issues, especially research conducted outside of medical settings. We aim to explore lay perceptions of STIs and how these influence experiences of genito-urinary symptoms and associated care-seeking behaviour, in women and men in Britain.<br/> METHODS AND DESIGN: This study adopts a participant-selection variant of the explanatory sequential mixed methods design to incorporate quantitative and qualitative strands. We use data from Britain's third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (n = 15,162) to analyse national patterns of symptom experience and care-seeking, and to identify a purposive qualitative sample. Semi-structured interviews (n = 27) following up with survey participants include a novel flash card activity providing qualitative data about infection perceptions, symptom experiences and decisions about healthcare. Quantitative and qualitative data are analysed separately using complex survey analyses and principles of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis respectively. Data are then integrated in a subsequent phase of analysis using matrices to compare, contrast and identify silences from each method.<br/> DISCUSSION: This is an ongoing mixed methods study collecting, analysing and synthesising linked data from a national survey and follow-up semi-structured interviews. It adds explanatory potential to existing national survey data and is likely to inform future surveys about sexual health. Given the current uncertainty around service provision in Britain, this study provides timely data about symptom experiences and care-seeking behaviour which may inform future commissioning of sexual healthcare.<br/>

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Social and Environmental Health Research
Research Centre: Sigma Research
PubMed ID: 27400780
Web of Science ID: 379711000012


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