Are vaginal/genital ‘health’ products bad for vaginal/genital health?

An ‘exploratory’ survey (1,435 respondents) reported in a recent paper in BMC Women’s Health by Crann & O’Doherty (C&D) indicates the widespread use (>95%) of ‘health and hygiene’ products by Canadian women in and around the vagina. The researchers also investigate, in a preliminary way, the relationship between their use and the experience of vaginal […]

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Can we use online search query data to predict the next syphilis outbreak?

Considerable stir has been generated by Young & Aral (Y&A) in a recent modelling study claiming to have demonstrated the potential of Google online search data to identify and predict syphilis outbreaks. The application of digital technologies to the epidemiology of STIs, and of syphilis in particular, is nothing new (Simms & Petersen (STI)). The […]

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Anti-HIV strategies in limited resource settings set the pattern for combating other diseases

HIV-specific interventions in poor regions of the world like sub-Saharan Africa may have benefits for their health systems that exceed the initial aims of those interventions (How should HIV-specific charitable interventions like PEPFAR be evaluated? (STI/blog)). This is the encouraging message coming out of a recent evaluation of treatment of rheumatoid heart disease (RHD) in […]

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The risk network approach to HIV detection: something like contact tracing?

There has been considerable debate on the most effective and cost-effective means of accessing untested HIV- or STI-infected individuals. One frequently canvassed strategy is that of respondent driven sampling (RDS). This involves issuing suitable ‘seeds’ (e.g. recently diagnosed MSM) with coupons to distribute to others in their sexual or social networks.  Wei & Raymond (STI) […]

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The recent trend towards multi-resistant gonorrhoea in coastal China

Alarming data have recent been reported (Yin & Chen) (Y&C) from the China Gonococcal Resistance Surveillance Programme (China-GRSP), covering seven (mostly coastal) provinces in the period 2013-2016. The study is relevant for Chinese national treatment policy, which currently recommends azithromycin monotherapy. However, with an estimated 45% of the world’s 78 million incident cases occurring in […]

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How should HIV-specific charitable interventions like PEPFAR be evaluated?

Fauci & Eisinger (F&E), in a short piece for New England Journal of Medicine, celebrate 15 years of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and count the lives saved. PEPFAR was established by President George W. Bush in 2003 in recognition of the obligation owed by a resource-rich country such as the US […]

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Presence of BV-related bacterial species in the vaginal microbiota may contribute to the vulnerability of African women to HIV

The association between disruptions of vaginal microbiota and vulnerability to STIs has been widely discussed. Tamarelle & Astagneau (STI) report a study based in a French STI clinic showing some evidence of greater vulnerability to Chlamydia in the case of microbiota not dominated by Lactobacillus crispatus. The more important question of an association of BV-related […]

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Overcoming the obstacles to routine HIV testing in hospital settings

In both the UK (2008) and the US (2006) routine opt-out HIV screening is recommended in areas where the prevalence of HIV exceeds a certain threshold. Hospital emergency departments (ED) and acute medical units (ACU) are obvious settings where testing can be offered. Elgalib & Sabapathy (E&S), in a systematic review focussing on 14 studies […]

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Estimating the added value of PrEP where it is not the only prevention tool in the box

LeVasseur & Welles (L&W) model the potential population-level impact of PrEP in combination with other prevention strategies. They seek to quantify the additional benefit of PrEP at various levels of uptake (0%-25%) in terms of prevented infections specifically attributable to that intervention in a range of contexts involving its combination with one or more of […]

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