To evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of a pilot, free, online photodiagnosis service for genital herpes and warts with postal treatment delivered by a specialist digital sexual health service.
An online sexual health service available free of charge in South East London, UK.
Routinely collected data from 237 users of the pilot service during the study period and qualitative interviews with a purposive sample of 15 users.
A pilot, free, online photodiagnosis service for genital herpes and warts with postal treatment delivered by a specialist digital sexual health service.
Proportion of users who successfully uploaded photographs and the proportion diagnosed, treated and referred to face-to-face clinical services. User experience of this service.
The service was accessed by 237 users during the study period with assessment possible for 86% of users based on the photographs provided. A diagnosis of genital herpes or warts was made for 40.5% and 89.6% were subsequently treated through the service. Eighteen per cent were diagnosed as normal/not needing treatment and 42% were signposted to clinic for further clinical assessment.
Qualitative data showed that users felt able and willing to provide genital images for diagnosis. Those who were treated or reassured expressed high satisfaction with the service, valuing the convenience, discreetness and support provided. However, users, particularly those who required referral to other services requested more personal and detailed communication when a clinical diagnosis is given remotely.
Findings suggest that online photodiagnosis was feasible and acceptable. However, effective and acceptable management of those who require referral needs careful remote communication.
To investigate experiences of implementing a new rapid sexual health testing, diagnosis and treatment service.
A theory-based qualitative evaluation with a focused ethnographic approach using non-participant observations and interviews with patient and clinic staff. Normalisation process theory was used to structure interview questions and thematic analysis.
A sexual health centre in Bristol, UK.
26 patients and 21 staff involved in the rapid sexually transmitted infection (STI) service were interviewed. Purposive sampling was aimed for a range of views and experiences and sociodemographics and STI results for patients, job grades and roles for staff. 40 hours of observations were conducted.
Implementation of the new service required co-ordinated changes in practice across multiple staff teams. Patients also needed to make changes to how they accessed the service. Multiple small ‘pilots’ of process changes were necessary to find workable options. For example, the service was introduced in phases beginning with male patients. This responsive operating mode created challenges for delivering comprehensive training and communication in advance to all staff. However, staff worked together to adjust and improve the new service, and morale was buoyed through observing positive impacts on patient care. Patients valued faster results and avoiding unnecessary treatment. Patients reported that they were willing to drop-off self-samples and return for a follow-up appointment, enabling infection-specific treatment in accordance with test results, thus improving antimicrobial stewardship.
The new service was acceptable to staff and patients. Implementation of service changes to improve access and delivery of care in the context of stretched resources can pose challenges for staff at all levels. Early evaluation of pilots of process changes played an important role in the success of the service by rapidly feeding back issues for adjustment. Visibility to staff of positive impacts on patient care is important in maintaining morale.
The effects of climate change and associated extreme weather events (EWEs) present substantial threats to well-being. EWEs hold the potential to harm sexual health through pathways including elevated exposure to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), disrupted healthcare access, and increased sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). The WHO defines four components of sexual health: comprehensive sexuality education; HIV and STI prevention and care; SGBV prevention and care; and psychosexual counselling. Yet, knowledge gaps remain regarding climate change and its associations with these sexual health domains. This scoping review will therefore explore the linkages between climate change and sexual health.
Five electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, Web of Science, CINAHL) will be searched using text words and subject headings (eg, Medical Subject Headings (MeSH), Emtree) related to sexual health and climate change from the inception of each database to May 2021. Grey literature and unpublished reports will be searched using a comprehensive search strategy, including from the WHO, World Bank eLibrary, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The scoping review will consider studies that explore: (a) climate change and EWEs including droughts, heat waves, wildfires, dust storms, hurricanes, flooding rains, coastal flooding and storm surges; alongside (b) sexual health, including: comprehensive sexual health education, sexual health counselling, and HIV/STI acquisition, prevention and/or care, and/or SGBV, including intimate partner violence, sexual assault and rape. Searches will not be limited by language, publication year or geographical location. We will consider quantitative, qualitative, mixed-methods and review articles for inclusion. We will conduct thematic analysis of findings. Data will be presented in narrative and tabular forms.
There are no formal ethics requirements as we are not collecting primary data. Results will be published in a peer-reviewed journal and shared at international conferences.
The aetiology of sleep disruptions is unknown, but hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause have been shown to potentially affect how well a woman sleeps. The aim of this systematic review was to investigate whether hormonal contraceptives are associated with a decreased quality of sleep and increased sleep duration in women of reproductive age.
This review will analyse data from randomised controlled trials or non-randomised comparative studies investigating the association between hormonal contraceptives and sleep outcomes among women of reproductive age. Reviews addressing the same research question with similar eligibility criteria will be included. A literature search will be performed using the MEDLINE, Embase and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials databases from inception to 7 March 2021. The Cochrane Collaboration’s Risk of Bias for Randomised Trials V.2.0 and The Risk of Bias for Non-randomised Studies of Interventions tool will be used to assess risk of bias for each outcome in eligible studies. Two reviewers will independently assess eligibility of studies and risk of bias and extract the data. All extracted data will be presented in tables and narrative form. For sleep measures investigated by two or more studies with low heterogeneity, we will conduct random-effects meta-analysis to estimate the magnitude of the overall effect of hormonal contraceptives. If studies included in this systematic review form a connected network, a network meta-analysis will be conducted to estimate the comparative effect of different contraceptives. The Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation approach will be used to summarise the quality of evidence. Our protocol follows the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses for Protocols 2015 guidelines.
Ethics approval is not required as data were sourced from previously reported studies. The findings of this review will be published in a peer-reviewed journal and presented at relevant conferences.
The incidence of Neisseria gonorrhoeae and its antimicrobial resistance is increasing in many countries. Antibacterial mouthwash may reduce gonorrhoea transmission without using antibiotics. We modelled the effect that antiseptic mouthwash may have on the incidence of gonorrhoea.
We developed a mathematical model of the transmission of gonorrhoea between each anatomical site (oropharynx, urethra and anorectum) in men who have sex with men (MSM). We constructed four scenarios: (1) mouthwash had no effect; (2) mouthwash increased the susceptibility of the oropharynx; (3) mouthwash reduced the transmissibility from the oropharynx; (4) the combined effect of mouthwash from scenarios 2 and 3.
We used data at three anatomical sites from 4873 MSM attending Melbourne Sexual Health Centre in 2018 and 2019 to calibrate our models and data from the USA, Netherlands and Thailand for sensitivity analyses.
Published available data on MSM with multisite infections of gonorrhoea.
Incidence of gonorrhoea.
The overall incidence of gonorrhoea was 44 (95% CI 37 to 50)/100 person-years (PY) in scenario 1. Under scenario 2 (20%–80% mouthwash coverage), the total incidence increased (47–60/100 PY) and at all three anatomical sites by between 7.4% (5.9%–60.8%) and 136.6% (108.1%–177.5%). Under scenario 3, with the same coverage, the total incidence decreased (20–39/100 PY) and at all anatomical sites by between 11.6% (10.2%–13.5%) and 99.8% (99.2%–100%). Under scenario 4, changes in the incidence depended on the efficacy of mouthwash on the susceptibility or transmissibility. The effect on the total incidence varied (22–55/100 PY), and at all anatomical sites, there were increases of nearly 130% and large declines of almost 100%.
The effect of mouthwash on gonorrhoea incidence is largely predictable depending on whether it increases susceptibility to or reduces the transmissibility of gonorrhoea.
Cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in Malawi, but preventable through screening. Malawi primarily uses visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) for screening, however, a follow-up for positive screening results remains a major barrier, in rural areas. We interviewed women who underwent a community-based screen-and-treat campaign that offered same-day treatment with thermocoagulation, a heat-based ablative procedure for VIA-positive lesions, to understand the barriers in accessing post-treatment follow-up and the role of male partners in contributing to, or overcoming these barriers.
We conducted in-depths interviews with 17 women recruited in a pilot study that evaluated the safety and acceptability of community-based screen-and-treat programme using VIA and thermocoagulation for cervical cancer prevention in rural Lilongwe, Malawi. Ten of the women interviewed presented for post-treatment follow-up at the healthcare facility and seven did not. The interviews were analysed for thematic content surrounding barriers for attending for follow-up and role of male partners in screening.
Transportation was identified as a major barrier to post-thermocoagulation follow-up appointment, given long distances to the healthcare facility. Male partners were perceived as both a barrier for some, that is, not supportive of 6-week post-thermocoagulation abstinence recommendation, and as an important source of support for others, that is, encouraging follow-up attendance, providing emotional support to maintaining post-treatment abstinence and as a resource in overcoming transportation barriers. Regardless, the majority of women desired more male partner involvement in cervical cancer screening.
Despite access to same-day treatment, long travel distances to health facilities for post-treatment follow-up visits remained a major barrier for women in rural Lilongwe. Male partners were identified both as a barrier to, and an important source of support for accessing and completing the screen-and-treat programme. To successfully eliminate cervical cancer in Malawi, it is imperative to understand the day-to-day barriers women face in accessing preventative care.
To critically appraise and synthesise the evidence in relation to both the receipt and delivery of LGBTI+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex) inclusive sexual health education.
A systematic review and narrative synthesis.
A systematic search of three online databases (EMBASE, PsychINFO and SocINDEX) from January 1990 to May 2021 was conducted.
Studies included were (1) peer-reviewed; (2) English; (3) quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods; that evaluated (4) inclusive sexual health in an educational or online setting and (5) focused on training or educating. Studies were excluded if (1) the population was not LGBTI+ inclusive; (2) the studies did not focus on original data or (3) the study was not available in full text.
The studies that met the inclusion criteria were assessed using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme tool. A narrative synthesis was then completed employing content analysis focusing on the results section of each article.
Of the 5656 records retrieved, 24 studies met the inclusion criteria. The majority of studies noted that both LGBTI+ youth and those who facilitate sexual health education are turning to online sources of information. Current sexual health education programmes operate mainly from a heterosexual perspective, creating a sense of exclusion for LGBTI+ youth. This is compounded by a lack of training, or provision of an inclusive curricula, resulting in facilitators feeling ill equipped or inhibited by their personal biases.
LGBTI+ youth are not experiencing inclusive and comprehensive sexual health education. In parallel, educators report poor access to information, training and resources remain the primary reasons. There is a need to standardise sexual health curricula, making them LGBTI+ inclusive and incorporate holistic aspects of health such as pleasure and healthy relationships. Online approaches should be considered in the future, as they represent equality of access for both sexual health education professionals and LGBTI+ youth alike.