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  • Dual screen and confirm rapid test does not reduce overtreatment of syphilis in pregnant women living in a non-venereal treponematoses endemic region: a field evaluation among antenatal care attendees in Burkina Faso.

    Langendorf, C; Lastrucci, C; Sanou-Bicaba, I; Blackburn, K; Koudika, MH; Crucitti, T (BMJ Publishing Group, 2019-09-01)
    OBJECTIVES: In resource-limited settings, screening pregnant women for syphilis using rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) is a key tool in the prevention of congenital syphilis. However, most syphilis RDTs detect only treponemal antibodies (T-RDT), meaning antibiotics may be provided unnecessarily to previously treated pregnant women, particularly in non-venereal treponematoses endemic regions. We estimated the potential reduction in overtreatment when comparing T-RDT (SD Bioline) to a newer rapid test (Dual Path Platform (DPP) Screen and Confirm Assay, Chembio) detecting both treponemal and non-treponemal antibodies. METHODS: Pregnant women in Déou, Burkina Faso, screened for syphilis during antenatal care (ANC) visits were prospectively enrolled in the study after providing consent. DPP and T-RDT tests were performed on whole blood specimens. Plasma was tested in an international reference laboratory by Treponema pallidum passive particle agglutination (TPPA) and quantitative rapid plasma reagin (RPR). Presumptive active syphilis was defined as a result that was both TPPA and RPR reactive. RESULTS: Of the 242 pregnant women included in the study, 91 (37.6%) had presumptive active syphilis and 19.0% had RPR titres ≥8. DPP testing did not reduce the number of pregnant women who would have been overtreated compared with T-RDT (0.0% vs 2.5%; p=0.218) and had a higher proportion of underdiagnosis (48.4% vs 2.2%; p<0.001). Seven women with high RPR titres ≥8 would not have received treatment had only DPP testing been used. CONCLUSION: In the first evaluation comparing DPP with traditional screening methods in pregnant women, we saw no reduction in unnecessarily treated syphilis and an underestimation of those needing treatment. High seroprevalence in the population may indicate the presence of other treponemal infections in the area, and further study of DPP in a variety of Sahelian and other contexts is warranted.
  • Better care for babies: the added value of a modified reverse syphilis testing algorithm for the treatment of congenital syphilis in a maternity Hospital in Central African Republic.

    Ogundipe, OF; Van den Bergh, R; Thierry, B; Takarinda, KC; Muller, CP; Timire, C; Caluwaerts, S; Chaillet, P; Zuniga, I (BioMed Central, 2019-08-15)
    BACKGROUND: In high syphilis prevalence settings, the syphilis testing and treatment strategy for mothers and newborns must be tailored to balance the risk of over treatment against the risk of missing infants at high-risk for congenital syphilis. Adding a non-treponemal test (Rapid Plasma Reagin - RPR) to a routine rapid treponemal test (SD Bioline Syphilis 3.0) for women giving birth can help distinguish between neonates at high and low-risk for congenital syphilis to tailor their treatment. Treatment for neonates born to RPR-reactive mothers (high-risk) is 10 days of intravenous penicillin, while one dose of intramuscular penicillin is sufficient for those born to RPR non-reactive mothers (low-risk). This strategy was adopted in March 2017 in a Médecins Sans Frontières supported hospital in Bangui, Central African Republic. This study examined the operational consequences of this algorithm on the treatment of newborns. METHODS: The study was a retrospective cohort study. Routine programmatic data were analysed. Descriptive statistical analysis was done. Total antibiotic days, hospitalization days and estimated costs were compared to scenarios without RPR testing and another where syphilis treatment was the sole reason for hospitalization. RESULTS: Of 202 babies born to SD Bioline positive mothers 89 (44%) and 111(55%) were RPR-reactive and non-reactive respectively (2 were unrecorded) of whom 80% and 88% of the neonates received appropriate antibiotic treatment respectively. Neonates born to RPR non-reactive mothers were 80% less likely to have sepsis [Relative risk (RR) = 0.20; 95% Confidence interval (CI) = 0.04-0.92] and 9% more likely to be discharged [RR = 1.09; 95% CI = 1.00-1.18] compared to those of RPR-reactive mothers. There was a 52%, and 49% reduction in antibiotic and hospitalization days respectively compared to a scenario with SD-Bioline testing only. Total hospitalization costs were also 52% lower compared to a scenario without RPR testing. CONCLUSIONS: This testing strategy can help identify infants at high and low risk for congenital syphilis and treat them accordingly at substantial cost savings. It is especially appropriate for settings with high syphilis endemicity, limited resources and overcrowded maternities. The babies additionally benefit from lower risks of exposure to unnecessary antibiotics and nosocomial infections.
  • Dual Screen and Confirm Rapid Test Does Not Reduce Overtreatment of Syphilis in Pregnant Women Living in a Non-venereal treponematoses Endemic Region: a Field Evaluation Among Antenatal Care Attendees in Burkina Faso

    Langendorf, C; Lastrucci, C; Sanou-Bicaba, I; Blackburn, K; Koudika, MH; Crucitti, T (BMJ Publishing Group, 2018-12-22)
    In resource-limited settings, screening pregnant women for syphilis using rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) is a key tool in the prevention of congenital syphilis. However, most syphilis RDTs detect only treponemal antibodies (T-RDT), meaning antibiotics may be provided unnecessarily to previously treated pregnant women, particularly in non-venereal treponematoses endemic regions. We estimated the potential reduction in overtreatment when comparing T-RDT (SD Bioline) to a newer rapid test (Dual Path Platform (DPP) Screen and Confirm Assay, Chembio) detecting both treponemal and non-treponemal antibodies.
  • Evaluation of the SD BIOLINE HIV/syphilis Duo assay at a rural health center in Southwestern Uganda

    Omoding, D; Katawera, V; Siedner, M; Boum Ii, Y (BioMed Central, 2014-10-22)
    Point-of-care tests have the capacity to improve healthcare delivery by reducing costs and delay associated with care. A novel point-of-care immunochromatographic test for dual diagnosis of both HIV and syphilis by detecting IgG, IgM and IgA antibodies to HIV, and specific and recombinant Treponema pallidum antigens has recently been developed, but has not been evaluated in rural field settings. We evaluated the performance of the SD Bioline Syphilis/HIV Duo (Duo) assay at a healthcare center in rural Uganda.
  • Factors associated with Condom Use Problems during Vaginal Sex with main and non-main partners

    DʼAnna, L H; Korosteleva, O; Warner, L; Douglas, J; Paul, S; Metcalf, C; McIlvaine, E; Malotte, C K; California State University, Long Beach, Center for Health Care Innovation, and Department of Math and Statistics, LongBeach, CA 90840, USA. laura.d’anna@csulb.edu (2012-09-01)
    Incorrect condom use is a common problem that can undermine their prevention impact. We assessed the prevalence of 2 condom use problems, breakage/slippage and partial use, compared problems by partnership type, and examined associations with respondent, partner, and partnership characteristics.
  • Optimising the management of vaginal discharge syndrome in Bulgaria: cost effectiveness of four clinical algorithms with risk assessment

    Cornier, N; Petrova, E; Cavailler, P; Dentcheva, R; Terris-Prestholt, F; Janin, A; Ninet, B; Anguenot, J-L; Vassilakos, P; Gerbase, A; et al. (2010-06)
    OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the performance and cost effectiveness of the WHO recommendations of incorporating risk-assessment scores and population prevalence of Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG) and Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) into vaginal discharge syndrome (VDS) algorithms. METHODS: Non-pregnant women presenting with VDS were recruited at a non-governmental sexual health clinic in Sofia, Bulgaria. NG and CT were diagnosed by PCR and vaginal infections by microscopy. Risk factors for NG/CT were identified in multivariable analysis. Four algorithms based on different combinations of behavioural factors, clinical findings and vaginal microscopy were developed. Performance of each algorithm was evaluated for detecting vaginal and cervical infections separately. Cost effectiveness was based on cost per patient treated and cost per case correctly treated. Sensitivity analysis explored the influence of NG/CT prevalence on cost effectiveness. RESULTS: 60% (252/420) of women had genital infections, with 9.5% (40/423) having NG/CT. Factors associated with NG/CT included new and multiple sexual partners in the past 3 months, symptomatic partner, childlessness and >or=10 polymorphonuclear cells per field on vaginal microscopy. For NG/CT detection, the algorithm that relied solely on behavioural risk factors was less sensitive but more specific than those that included speculum examination or microscopy but had higher correct-treatment rate and lower over-treatment rates. The cost per true case treated using a combination of risk factors, speculum examination and microscopy was euro 24.08. A halving and tripling of NG/CT prevalence would have approximately the inverse impact on the cost-effectiveness estimates. CONCLUSIONS: Management of NG/CT in Bulgaria was improved by the use of a syndromic approach that included risk scores. Approaches that did not rely on microscopy lost sensitivity but were more cost effective.
  • Frequency of sexually transmitted infections and related factors in Pweto, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2004

    Luque Fernández, M A; Bauernfeind, A; Palma, P P; Ruiz Pérez, I; Escuela Andaluza de Salud Pública, Granada, España. watzilei@hotmail.com (2008-07-08)
    OBJECTIVES: To estimate the prevalence of genital ulcer and urethral discharge in Pweto, Democratic Republic of Congo, and to analyze the association between the estimated prevalence and age, marital status, profession, and number of sexual partners. METHODS: We performed a descriptive cross-sectional study through a survey conducted in May 2004 in a representative sample of 106 men in Pweto aged between 15 and 65 years old, with a precision of 9.5%. Questionnaire items about current or previous ulceration and urethral discharge where self-reported and referred to the previous year as of the date of the survey. To study the associations, crude and adjusted odds ratios (OR) were calculated using multivariate logistic regression. RESULTS: The prevalence was 39.6% (95% confidence interval [CI], 30-49) for urethral discharge and 33% (95%CI, 24-42) for genital ulcer. Soldiers were identified as a risk group independently of age, the number of sexual partners during the previous year, and marital status. The multivariate analysis showed an adjusted OR of 3.25 (95%CI, 1.10-9.95) (p < 0.05) for the frequency of urethral discharge in soldiers compared with other professions. CONCLUSIONS: The high prevalence of sexually transmitted infections in Pweto and the associated factors identified prompted the initiation of a controlled condom donation program for soldiers. In conflict situations with a high prevalence of sexually transmitted infections and lack of health services, humanitarian aid organizations should implement prevention activities focused on risk groups.
  • Antimicrobial susceptibility of Neisseria gonorrheae strains in three regions of Armenia

    Hovhannisyan, G; von Schoen-Angerer, T; Babayan, K; Fenichiu, O; Gaboulaud, V; Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, Canada; Medecins sans frontieres, Geneva, Switzerland; Medical-Scientific Center for Dermatology and STI, Yerevan, Armenia; Medecins sans frontieres, Brussels, Belgium; Epicentre, Paris, France (2007-09-01)
    OBJECTIVE: There are no data available on gonococcal susceptibility in the Caucasus region. We aimed to determine in vitro antimicrobial susceptibility of Neisseria gonorrheae in Armenia in order to update the national treatment protocol. METHODS: Isolates from men with urethral discharge presenting at 3 STI clinics in 3 different sites of Armenia were used to determine susceptibility of N. gonorrheae strains for 11 antimicrobials using the disc diffusion technique. RESULTS: Among the 101 isolates tested the susceptibility rate for penicillin, doxycycline, and kanamycin were 37.6, 25.7, and 80.2%, respectively. Sensitivity to quinolones was 95% for both ofloxacin and ciprofloxacin. All strains were susceptible to third-generation cephalosporins and to spectinomycin. Only 11% of strains were susceptible to all antibiotics tested. CONCLUSION: Third-generation cephalosporines and spectinomycin are suitable first-line regimens. Quinolones are not advisable as first-line treatment given current borderline susceptibility, known tendency for rapid resistance development in this class, and frequent over-the-counter use of this antibiotic in Armenia.
  • HIV and other sexually transmitted infections among female sex workers in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, in 2002.

    Vandepitte, J M; Malele, F; Kivuvu, D M; Edidi, S; Muwonga, J; Lepira, F; Abdellati, S; Kabamba, J; Van Overloop, C; Buvé, A; et al. (2007-04)
    OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence and risk factors of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among female sex workers (FSWs) in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, in 2002. STUDY DESIGN: A cross-sectional study was conducted among FSWs presenting for the first time at the STI clinic of Matonge, Kinshasa. The women were interviewed about sociodemographic characteristics, type of sex work, and sexual behavior. Blood was taken for HIV, syphilis, and herpes simplex virus type 2 serology. Vaginal secretions were collected on swabs for the diagnosis of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis. RESULTS: The overall HIV prevalence was 12.4% but varied within the different categories of FSWs: 11.8% in hotel-based, 24.0% in home-based, and 20.0% in street-based FSWs; 10.0% in homeless FSWs; and 6.6% in Masquées (clandestine sex workers). The overall herpes simplex virus type 2 seroprevalence was 58.5%. CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of HIV and other STIs seems to have stabilized since the beginning of the project in 1988.
  • Operational and Economic Evaluation of an NGO-led Sexually Transmitted Infections Intervention: North-Western Cambodia

    Carrara, V; Terris-Prestholt, F; Kumaranayake, L; Mayaud, P; Banteay Meanchey Projects, Cambodia/Médecins Sans Frontières, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (Published by WHO, 2005-06)
    OBJECTIVE: Sexually transmitted infection (STI) services were offered by the nongovernmental organization Médecins Sans Frontières-Holland in Banteay Meanchey province, Cambodia, between 1997 and 1999. These services targeted female sex workers but were available to the general population. We conducted an evaluation of the operational performance and costs of this real-life project. METHODS: Effectiveness outcomes (syndromic cure rates of STIs) were obtained by retrospectively analysing patients' records. Annual financial and economic costs were estimated from the provider's perspective. Unit costs for the cost-effectiveness analysis included the cost per visit, per partner treated, and per syndrome treated and cured. FINDINGS: Over 30 months, 11,330 patients attended the clinics; of these, 7776 (69%) were STI index patients and only 1012 (13%) were female sex workers. A total of 15 269 disease episodes and 30 488 visits were recorded. Syndromic cure rates ranged from 39% among female sex workers with genital ulcers to 74% among men with genital discharge; there were variations over time. Combined rates of syndromes classified as cured or improved were around 84-95% for all syndromes. The total economic costs of the project were US 766,046 dollars. The average cost per visit over 30 months was US 25.12 dollars and the cost per partner treated for an STI was US 50.79 dollars. The average cost per STI syndrome treated was US 48.43 dollars, of which US 4.92 dollars was for drug treatment. The costs per syndrome cured or improved ranged from US 46.95-153.00 dollars for men with genital ulcers to US 57.85-251.98 dollars for female sex workers with genital discharge. CONCLUSION: This programme was only partly successful in reaching its intended target population of sex workers and their male partners. Decreasing cure rates among sex workers led to relatively poor cost-effectiveness outcomes overall despite decreasing unit costs.
  • Acceptability and Utilisation of Services for Voluntary Counselling [corrected] and Testing and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Kahsey Abera Hospital, Humera, Tigray, Ethiopia.

    Reilley, B; Hiwot, Z G; Mesure, J; Medecins sans Frontieres USA, 333 Seventh Avenue, 2nd floor 1001-5004, New York, USA. (2004-07)
    OBJECTIVES: A study was conducted to assess the acceptability and utilization of voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) and sexually transmitted infection (STI) services in Kahsey Abera Hospital, Humera. METHODS: Retrospective data was taken from hospital consultation logbooks from January 2002 to February 2003, and focus group discussions were conducted in March 2003 in the community. RESULTS: While the services were known and utilization is increasing, important misconceptions about the medical services, disease transmission, and STI treatment persist. Although hospital care was generally considered of high quality, persons often go to pharmacies to self-treat for STIs due to concerns about confidentiality, and the stigma of HIV deters many from wanting to know their serostatus. CONCLUSIONS: Additional education is needed on HIV/AIDS, STIs, and the medical services provided. Education may make use of community health workers or outreach workers in a small group where participants can feel comfortable to ask sensitive questions. HIV/AIDS treatment is planned for the near future and may be significant in reducing HIV/AIDS stigma.
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections and Sexual Behaviour Among Commercial Sex Workers in a Rural District of Malawi.

    Zachariah, R; Spielmann M P; Harries, A D; Nkhoma, W; Chantulo, A; Arendt, V; Médecins sans Frontières - Luxembourg, Thyolo District, Malawi. Zachariah@internet.ln (2003-03)
    In Thyolo District, Malawi, a study was conducted among commercial sex workers (CSWs) attending mobile clinics in order to; determine the prevalence and pattern of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), describe sexual behaviour among those who have an STI and identify risk factors associated with 'no condom use'. There were 1817 CSWs, of whom 448 (25%) had an STI. Of these, the commonest infections included 237 (53%) cases of abnormal vaginal discharge, 109 (24%) cases of pelvic inflammatory disease and 95 (21%) cases of genital ulcer disease (GUD). Eighty-seven per cent had sex while symptomatic, 17% without condoms. Having unprotected sex was associated with being married, being involved with commercial sex outside a known rest-house or bar, having a GUD, having fewer than two clients/day, alcohol intake and having had no prior medication for STI. The high levels of STIs, particularly GUDs, and unprotected sex underlines the importance of developing targeted interventions for CSWs and their clients.
  • Health seeking and sexual behaviour in patients with sexually transmitted infections: the importance of traditional healers in Thyolo, Malawi.

    Zachariah, R; Nkhoma, W; Harries, A D; Arendt, V; Chantulo, A; Spielmann M P; Mbereko, M; Buhendwa, L; Médecins Sans Frontières, Luxembourg, Thyolo District, Malawi. msflblantyre@malawi.net (BMJ Journals, 2002-04)
    OBJECTIVES: To describe health seeking and sexual behaviour including condom use among patients presenting with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and, to identify sociodemographic and behavioural risk factors associated with "no condom use" during the symptomatic period. METHODS: A cross sectional study of consecutive new STI cases presenting at the district STI clinic in Thyolo, Malawi. They were interviewed by STI counsellors after obtaining informed consent. All patients were treated according to national guidelines. RESULTS: Out of 498 new STI clients, 53% had taken some form of medication before coming to the STI clinic, the most frequent alternative source being the traditional healer (37%). 46% of all clients reported sex during the symptomatic period (median 14 days), the majority (74%) not using condoms. 90% of all those who had not used condoms resided in villages and had seen only the traditional healer. Significant risk factors associated with "no condom use" included visiting a traditional healer, being female, having less than 8 years of school education, and being resident in villages. Genital ulcer disease (GUD) was the most common STI in males (49%) while in females this comprised 27% of STIs. CONCLUSIONS: These findings, and especially the extremely high GUD prevalence is of particular concern, considering the high national HIV prevalence in Malawi (9%) and the implications for STI and HIV transmission. There is an urgent need to integrate traditional healers in control activities, encourage their role in promoting safer sexual behaviour, and to reorient or even change existing strategies on condom promotion and STI control.
  • Cost-effectiveness of management strategies for acute urethritis in the developing world.

    Crabbé, F; Vuylsteke, B; de Clerck, M; Laga, M; Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium; Médecins sans Frontières, Belgium. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2000-09)
    OBJECTIVE: To recommend a cost-effective approach for the management of acute male urethritis in the developing world, based on the findings of a theoretical study. METHODS: A model was developed to assess the cost-effectiveness of three urethritis management strategies in a theoretical cohort of 1000 men with urethral syndrome. (1) All patients were treated with cefixime and doxycycline for gonococcal urethritis (GU) and nongonococcal urethritis (NGU), respectively, as recommended by WHO. (2) All patients were treated with doxycycline for NGU; treatment with cefixime was based on the result of direct microscopy of a urethral smear. (3) All patients were treated with cotrimoxazole or kanamycin for GU and doxycycline for NGU. Cefixime was kept for patients not responding to the first GU treatment. Strategy costs included consultations, laboratory diagnosis (where applicable) and drugs. The outcome was the rate of patients cured of urethritis. Cost-effectiveness was measured in terms of cost per cured urethritis. RESULTS: Strategy costs in our model depended largely on drug costs. The first strategy was confirmed as the most effective but also the most expensive approach. Cefixime should cost no more than US$ 1.5 for the strategy to be the most cost-effective. The second strategy saved money and drugs but proved a valuable alternative only when laboratory performance was optimal. The third strategy with cotrimoxazole was the least expensive but a low follow-up visit rate, poor treatment compliance or lower drug efficacy limited effectiveness. Maximizing compliance by replacing cotrimoxazole with single-dose kanamycin had the single greatest impact on the effectiveness of the third strategy. CONCLUSION: Our model suggested that a cost-effective approach would be to treat gonorrhoea with a single-dose antibiotic selected from locally available products that cost no more than US$ 1.5.
  • Russia: Sex, Drugs, and AIDS and MSF.

    Veeken, H; Médecins Sans Frontières, Amsterdam, Netherlands. hans_veeken@amsterdam.msj.org (Published by: BMJ Publishing Group Ltd, 1998-01-10)
  • Cuba: Plenty of Care, Few Condoms, No Corruption.

    Veeken, H; Médecins Sans Frontières, Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Published by: BMJ Publishing Group Ltd, 1995-10-07)
    The health system in Cuba guarantees accessibility to the entire population, is free of charge, and covers the spectrum from vaccinations to sophisticated interventions. The results are impressive: Cuba's health figures are on a par with developed countries that have 20 times the budget. The country is experiencing a difficult period because of the collapse and loss of support from the Soviet Union; over 30 years' trade embargo by the United States; and the gradual change from a centrally planned economy towards more of a free market system. Shortages are experienced in every sector, and maintaining health care services at the current level is too expensive. Doctors and nurses continue to work towards the goal of health for all Cubans, even though their salaries are minimal. Signs of negligence or corruption, often seen in other socialist countries where incentives for output are lacking, are unknown. Topics such as family planning and AIDS deserve immediate attention.