Improvement of Clinical Algorithms for the Diagnosis of Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis by the Use of Gram-Stained Smears Among Female Sex Workers in Accra, Ghana

ArticleinSex Transm Dis 27(7):401-10 · September 2000with2 Reads
Impact Factor: 2.84 · DOI: 10.1097/00007435-200008000-00005 · Source: PubMed

Screening for cervical infection is difficult in developing countries. Screening strategies must be improved for high-risk women, such as female sex workers. To evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of screening algorithms for cervical infection pathogens among female sex workers in Accra, Ghana. A cross-sectional study among female sex workers was conducted. Each woman underwent an interview and a clinical examination. Biologic samples were obtained for the diagnosis of HIV, syphilis, bacterial vaginosis, yeast infection, Trichomonas vaginalis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and Chlamydia trachomatis infection. Signs and symptoms associated with cervicitis agents were identified. Algorithms for the diagnosis of cervical infection were tested by computer simulations. The following prevalences were observed: HIV, 76.6%; N. gonorrhoeae, 33.7%; C. trachomatis, 10.1%; candidiasis, 24.4%; T. vaginalis, 31.4%; bacterial vaginosis, 2.3%; serologic syphilis, 4.6%; and genital ulcers on clinical examination, 10.6%. The best performance of algorithms were reached when using a combination of clinical signs and a search for gram-negative diplococci on cervical smears (sensitivity, 64.4%; specificity, 80.0%). In the algorithms, examination of Gram-stained genital smears in female sex workers without clinical signs of cervicitis improved sensitivity without altering specificity for the diagnosis of cervical infection.

    • "Thus outreach services most frequently encompassed STI and HIV prevention education, condom distribution and promotion and recruitment for STI screening [40,48,565758596061626364656683,99,110111112113114115116117118119120121, often via a referral card system [52,55,140,141]. Most projects encouraged FSWs to 'drop in' to a clinic to collect free condoms; however we identified only three projects (in Ghana, Mombasa Kenya, and The Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) in Cape Town South Africa) which had established an actual community drop-in centre that could serve as a meeting place and central hub for distribution of condoms and information, education and communication (IEC) materials [41,60,757677787980142143144145146147. Finally, clinical service provision via outreach was uncommon: mobile units providing STI and other services to FSWs were documented in only five projects, all in Southern Africa [ [109] and only SWEAT in Cape Town provided legal assistance to sex workers who had experienced violence and assault [41]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background Female sex workers (FSWs) experience high levels of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) morbidity, violence and discrimination. Successful SRH interventions for FSWs in India and elsewhere have long prioritised community mobilisation and structural interventions, yet little is known about similar approaches in African settings. We systematically reviewed community empowerment processes within FSW SRH projects in Africa, and assessed them using a framework developed by Ashodaya, an Indian sex worker organisation. Methods In November 2012 we searched Medline and Web of Science for studies of FSW health services in Africa, and consulted experts and websites of international organisations. Titles and abstracts were screened to identify studies describing relevant services, using a broad definition of empowerment. Data were extracted on service-delivery models and degree of FSW involvement, and analysed with reference to a four-stage framework developed by Ashodaya. This conceptualises community empowerment as progressing from (1) initial engagement with the sex worker community, to (2) community involvement in targeted activities, to (3) ownership, and finally, (4) sustainability of action beyond the community. Results Of 5413 articles screened, 129 were included, describing 42 projects. Targeted services in FSW ‘hotspots’ were generally isolated and limited in coverage and scope, mostly offering only free condoms and STI treatment. Many services were provided as part of research activities and offered via a clinic with associated community outreach. Empowerment processes were usually limited to peer-education (stage 2 of framework). Community mobilisation as an activity in its own right was rarely documented and while most projects successfully engaged communities, few progressed to involvement, community ownership or sustainability. Only a few interventions had evolved to facilitate collective action through formal democratic structures (stage 3). These reported improved sexual negotiating power and community solidarity, and positive behavioural and clinical outcomes. Sustainability of many projects was weakened by disunity within transient communities, variable commitment of programmers, low human resource capacity and general resource limitations. Conclusions Most FSW SRH projects in Africa implemented participatory processes consistent with only the earliest stages of community empowerment, although isolated projects demonstrate proof of concept for successful empowerment interventions in African settings.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Globalization and Health
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    • "| simplified screening algorithms Á based on clinical signs (speculum examination) and simple laboratory tests [81]. Reports of poor rates of return for STI screening results and the asymptomatic nature of most STIs mean that PPT has an important role [41,43]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Virtually no African country provides HIV prevention services in sex work settings with an adequate scale and intensity. Uncertainty remains about the optimal set of interventions and mode of delivery. We systematically reviewed studies reporting interventions for reducing HIV transmission among female sex workers in sub-Saharan Africa between January 2000 and July 2011. Medline (PubMed) and non-indexed journals were searched for studies with quantitative study outcomes. We located 26 studies, including seven randomized trials. Evidence supports implementation of the following interventions to reduce unprotected sex among female sex workers: peer-mediated condom promotion, risk-reduction counselling and skills-building for safer sex. One study found that interventions to counter hazardous alcohol-use lowered unprotected sex. Data also show effectiveness of screening for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and syndromic STI treatment, but experience with periodic presumptive treatment is limited. HIV testing and counselling is essential for facilitating sex workers' access to care and antiretroviral treatment (ART), but testing models for sex workers and indeed for ART access are little studied, as are structural interventions, which create conditions conducive for risk reduction. With the exception of Senegal, persistent criminalization of sex work across Africa reduces sex workers' control over working conditions and impedes their access to health services. It also obstructs health-service provision and legal protection. There is sufficient evidence of effectiveness of targeted interventions with female sex workers in Africa to inform delivery of services for this population. With improved planning and political will, services - including peer interventions, condom promotion and STI screening - would act at multiple levels to reduce HIV exposure and transmission efficiency among sex workers. Initiatives are required to enhance access to HIV testing and ART for sex workers, using current CD4 thresholds, or possibly earlier for prevention. Services implemented at sufficient scale and intensity also serve as a platform for subsequent community mobilization and sex worker empowerment, and alleviate a major source of incident infection sustaining even generalized HIV epidemics. Ultimately, structural and legal changes that align public health and human rights are needed to ensure that sex workers on the continent are adequately protected from HIV.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Journal of the International AIDS Society
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    • "Clinical algorithms developed for female SWs in other countries do not distinguish first from follow-up visits (Vuylsteke et al. 1993; Germain et al. 1997; Deceuninck et al. 2000). Simple laboratory tests such as the detection of intra-cellular Gram-negative diplococci in cervical smear (Deceuninck et al. 2000) or >10 leucocytes/field in vaginal smears (Germain et al. 1997) have been included elsewhere in algorithms for SWs. The sensitivity of these algorithms ranged from 58% to 71% with specificities from 56% to 80%. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sex work is frequently one of the few options women in low-income countries have to generate income for themselves and their families. Treating and preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among sex workers (SWs) is critical to protect the health of the women and their communities; it is also a cost-effective way to slow the spread of HIV. Outside occasional research settings however, SWs in low-income countries rarely have access to effective STI diagnosis. To develop adequate, affordable, and acceptable STI control strategies for SWs. In collaboration with SWs we evaluated STIs and associated demographic, behavioural, and clinical characteristics in SWs living in two cities in Madagascar. Two months post-treatment and counselling, incident STIs and associated factors were determined. Evidence-based STI management guidelines were developed with SW representatives. At baseline, two of 986 SWs were HIV+; 77.5% of the SWs in Antananarivo and 73.5% in Tamatave had at least one curable STI. Two months post-treatment, 64.9% of 458 SWs in Antananarivo and 57.4% of 481 women in Tamatave had at least one STI. The selected guidelines include speculum exams; syphilis treatment based on serologic screening; presumptive treatment for gonorrhoea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis during initial visits, and individual risk-based treatment during 3-monthly follow-up visits. SWs were enthusiastic, productive partners. A major HIV epidemic can still be averted in Madagascar but effective STI control is needed nationwide. SWs and health professionals valued the participatory research and decision-making process. Similar approaches should be pursued in other resource-poor settings where sex work and STIs are common and appropriate STI diagnostics lacking.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2003 · Tropical Medicine & International Health
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