Self-Screening for Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis in the Human Immunodeficiency Virus Clinic-High Yields and High Acceptability

Department of Genitourinary Medicine, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, Brighton, UK.
Sexually transmitted diseases (Impact Factor: 2.84). 12/2011; 38(12):1107-9. DOI: 10.1097/OLQ.0b013e31822e6136
Source: PubMed


Despite antiretroviral therapy (ART), incident human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) continues to rise, and sexually transmitted infections (STI) are well known for their part in HIV transmission. National guidelines recommend routine STI screening in HIV-positive individuals, but despite this, reported uptake remains low.
We implemented a nurse-led self-screening program for Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (GC) in asymptomatic HIV patients. Self-collected samples were tested for CT and GC using the GenProbe Aptima Combo 2 assay. Clinical records were reviewed for ART history, CD4 T-cell count, and plasma viral load. A screening service evaluation questionnaire was handed out.
During an 8-month period, 976 screens were performed. In all, 143 infections were detected which would have been missed without the screening program. Overall prevalence of infection among men who have sex with men was 17.4%: rectal CT and GC, 9.8% (56/571) and 4.2% (24/571), respectively; urethal CT and GC, 2.6% (16/605) and 1.3% (8/605), respectively; and pharyngeal CT and GC, 1.7% (10/589) and 3.9% (23/589), respectively. Among heterosexual men and women, the rates of CT were 2.1% (3/141) and 1.5% (3/201), and there was no GC. Transient viremia was observed at the time of STI diagnosis in 6 patients on ART. All men who have sex with men and most women found self-swabbing acceptable, and most patients indicated that they would like to be offered testing in future.
These findings highlight the need for the introduction of similar screening approaches in HIV clinics. Self-collected specimens using sensitive and specific GC and CT nucleic acid amplification tests are a convenient and acceptable way of testing, and it may address some of the barriers to screening in this population.

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    • "In the regular HIV care setting, screening is predominantly urogenital. However, the majority of STIs detected in HIV-infected MSM in our study and in other studies were found at anorectal and oropharyngeal sites [6,32]. The current study does not provide insight into the determinants of the higher STI prevalence in MSM. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Hospital HIV care and public sexual health care (a Sexual Health Care Centre) services were integrated to provide sexual health counselling and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) testing and treatment (sexual health care) to larger numbers of HIV patients. Services, need and usage were assessed using a patient perspective, which is a key factor for the success of service integration. Methods The study design was a one-group pre-test and post-test comparison of 447 HIV-infected heterosexual individuals and men who have sex with men (MSM) attending a hospital-based HIV centre serving the southern region of the Netherlands. The intervention offered comprehensive sexual health care using an integrated care approach. The main outcomes were intervention uptake, patients’ pre-test care needs (n=254), and quality rating. Results Pre intervention, 43% of the patients wanted to discuss sexual health (51% MSM; 30% heterosexuals). Of these patients, 12% to 35% reported regular coverage, and up to 25% never discussed sexual health topics at their HIV care visits. Of the patients, 24% used our intervention. Usage was higher among patients who previously expressed a need to discuss sexual health. Most patients who used the integrated services were new users of public health services. STIs were detected in 13% of MSM and in none of the heterosexuals. The quality of care was rated good. Conclusions The HIV patients in our study generally considered sexual health important, but the regular counselling and testing at the HIV care visit was insufficient. The integration of public health and hospital services benefited both care sectors and their patients by addressing sexual health questions, detecting STIs, and conducting partner notification. Successful sexual health care uptake requires increased awareness among patients about their care options as well as a cultural shift among care providers.
    BMC Public Health 12/2012; 12(1):1118. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-12-1118 · 2.26 Impact Factor

  • Sexually transmitted diseases 01/2013; 40(1):81-4. DOI:10.1097/OLQ.0b013e31827de342 · 2.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Recent studies have demonstrated a high prevalence of pharyngeal (P) and rectal (R) Neisseria gonorrhoeae (GC) and Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) infections among men who have sex with men (MSM). Guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend testing at least annually. But surveys of medical providers suggest that adherence to these guidelines is minimal as a result of limited time and staff. Because of these concerns, we evaluated the feasibility and accuracy of patient self-testing. Methods: Three-hundred seventy-four patients at a Washington, DC clinic who identified themselves as MSM and requested testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) participated in the study. Patients performed self-screening using the Gen-Probe APTIMA Combo 2 (AC2) kit after viewing written and pictorial instructions. Trained providers also screened patients. We randomized the order in which patients or providers performed testing. Results: Among those receiving specific tests, 8% of patients tested positive for R-GC, 9.3% for P-GC, 12.7% for R-CT, and 1.3% for P-CT. We performed McNemar tests, stratified by infection type and anatomic site to evaluate concordance. Self-administered testing was significantly better at identifying P-GC (discordant: 3%) and R-GC (discordant: 2.9%) (P ≤.01), and had results similar to provider- administered testing for P-CT (discordant: 0.5%) and R-CT (discordant: 1.1%) detection. Conclusions: The equivalent or better detection rates for rectal and oral gonorrhea and chlamydia among patients suggest that patients are capable of performing their own screening for STIs, which may increase infection detection and treatment.
    The Journal of family practice 02/2013; 62(2):70-8. · 0.89 Impact Factor
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