Health interventions can change systemic and cultural determinants of STI/HIV transmission

The causal pathway linking intimate partner violence (IPV) and health may be two-way.  We are used to thinking of IPV as a determinant of STI; but sexual health also has an impact on IPV.  This, at any rate, is the conclusion of a recently issued working-paper from the US National Bureau of Economic Research uniting […]

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Location of HIV-2 emergence determined by distribution of indigenous cultural practices of male circumcision

Sousa & Vandamme demonstrate a robust correlation between HIV-2 prevalence at the time of the 1980s surveys and the absence of indigenous practices of male circumcision earlier in the century.  This is a complex and interdisciplinary study, involving some of the earliest large-scale, West African serological surveys of HIV-2 (1980s) and extensive ethnography of the […]

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Global patterns in ante-natal syphilis prevalence: Why is sub-Saharan Africa different?

‘Can a meaningful pattern be discerned in the large variations in syphilis rates over the last century?’ This is the question addressed by a recent systematic review – Kenyon & Tsoumanis (K&T) – based on published data on ante-natal syphilis prevalence (ASP) from those countries for which that data is available since at least 1951.   […]

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Tracking the origin, early spread, and ignition of pandemic #HIV-1 through new approaches to phylogenetic analysis

“Distribution of HIV-1 subtypes in a population”, state Mumtaz & Raddad (STI) in a study of the HIV pandemic in the Middle East, “tracks the spread and evolution of the epidemic”.  Various studies covered in our previous blogs have attempted to read the history of the progress of the HIV epidemic through the evidence of […]

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Tracking the history of HIV back to chimpanzees: is the evidence in the West African genome?

Papers explored in earlier STI blogs have traced the distribution through the world of the different HIV subtypes (http://blogs.bmj.com/sti/2013/01/04/reading-the-history-of-the-progress-of-the-hiv-epidemic-through-the-evidence-of-hiv-subtype-distribution/?q=w_sti_blog_sidetab; http://sti.bmj.com/content/87/2/101.full?sid=2b7658a8-4f84-4d8a-b2bc-d5104c523180), and have used this information to track the origins of HIV-AIDS in central/western Africa probably at the beginning of the last century (http://journals.lww.com/aidsonline/pages/results.aspx?k=Tatem%20AND%20Salemi&Scope=AllIssues&txtKeywords=Tatem%20AND%20Salemi).  Now a research article published in Evolutionary Biology – Zhao, Roca et al. – has […]

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Impact on sexual behaviour of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in US navy

Epidemiological research has sometimes addressed the impact on men who have sex with men (MSM) sexual behaviour of being “non-gay identifying” (NGI) (Yun, Wang et al. (http://sti.bmj.com/content/87/7/563.full?sid=a367a77d-f830-46ee-b761-eec8d9e22da2 ); Mercer & Cassell (http://ijsa.rsmjournals.com/content/20/2/87.full) or of belonging to a culture in which openness about sexuality by MSM is sometimes difficult and personally costly (Lane, Kegeles et al. (http://sti.bmj.com/content/84/6/430.full?sid=ab090fad-0769-479b-a7d5-e6ba10da5609). […]

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Managing gonorrhoea in a world without antibiotics

On 6th June the World Health Organization (WHO) put out an alert regarding drug-resistant gonorrhoea (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/notes/2012/gonorrhoea_20120606/en/ ) simultaneously with the publication of a Global Action Plan (http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2012/9789241503501_eng.pdf).  The last year or so has seen the emergence of strains of the infection that are resistant to cephalosporins, the antibiotics of last resort.  The plan includes: increased […]

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Did syphilis really originate in the New World? An old theory reconsidered.

Outside Naples, 1495, an unknown epidemic struck the mercenary army of the French King Charles VIII, subsequently considered to be the first recorded outbreak of syphilis in the Old World.  As early as the sixteenth century, the sudden emergence of the disease was popularly attributed to Columbus’ recent voyage to the New World.  Yet doubts […]

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