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Improving sexual health for HIV patients by providing a combination of integrated public health and hospital care services; a one-group pre- and post test intervention comparison

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      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.


      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.


      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.


      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.

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      From epidemiological synergy to public health policy and practice: the contribution of other sexually transmitted diseases to sexual transmission of HIV infection.

      To review the scientific data on the role of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in sexual transmission of HIV infection and discuss the implications of these findings for HIV and STD prevention policy and practice. Articles were selected from a review of Medline, accessed with the OVID search engine. The search covered articles from January 1987 to September 1998 and yielded 2101 articles. Methods used to uncover articles which might have been missed included searching for related articles by author, and combing literature reviews. In addition, all abstracts under the category "sexually transmitted diseases" from the XI and XII International Conferences on AIDS (Vancouver 1996 and Geneva 1998) and other relevant scientific meetings were reviewed. Efforts were made to locate journal articles which resulted from the research reported in the identified abstracts. All original journal articles and abstracts which met one of the following criteria were included: (1) studies of the biological plausibility or mechanism of facilitation of HIV infectiousness or susceptibility by STDs, (2) prospective cohort studies (longitudinal or nested case-control) which estimate the risk of HIV infection associated with specific STDs or STD syndromes, or (3) intervention studies which quantitate the effect which STD treatment can have on HIV incidence. Strong evidence indicates that both ulcerative and non-ulcerative STDs promote HIV transmission by augmenting HIV infectiousness and HIV susceptibility via a variety of biological mechanisms. These effects are reflected in the risk estimates found in numerous prospective studies from four continents which range from 2.0 to 23.5, with most clustering between 2 and 5. The relative importance of ulcerative and non-ulcerative STDs appears to be complex. Owing to the greater frequency of non-ulcerative STDs in many populations, these infections may be responsible for more HIV transmission than genital ulcers. However, the limited reciprocal impact of HIV infection on non-ulcerative STDs and the evidence that non-ulcerative STDs may increase risk primarily for the receptive partner (rather than bidirectionally) may modulate the impact of these diseases. The results of two community level randomised, controlled intervention trials conducted in Africa suggest that timely provision of STD services can substantially reduce HIV incidence, but raise additional questions about the optimal way to target and implement these services to achieve the greatest effect on HIV transmission. Available data leave little doubt that other STDs facilitate HIV transmission through direct, biological mechanisms and that early STD treatment should be part of a high quality, comprehensive HIV prevention strategy. Policy makers, HIV prevention programme managers, and providers should focus initial implementation efforts on three key areas: (i) improving access to and quality of STD clinical services; (ii) promoting early and effective STD related healthcare behaviours; and (iii) establishing surveillance systems to monitor STD and HIV trends and their interrelations.
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        Reduction of concentration of HIV-1 in semen after treatment of urethritis: implications for prevention of sexual transmission of HIV-1. AIDSCAP Malawi Research Group.

        Transmission of HIV-1 is predominantly by heterosexual contact in sub-Saharan Africa, where sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are also common. Epidemiological studies suggest that STDs facilitate transmission of HIV-1, but the biological mechanism remains unclear. We investigated the hypothesis that STDs increase the likelihood of transmission of HIV-1 through increased concentration of the virus in semen. HIV-1 RNA concentrations were measured in seminal and blood plasma from 135 HIV-1-seropositive men in Malawi; 86 had urethritis and 49 controls did not have urethritis. Men with urethritis received antibiotic treatment according to the guidelines of the Malawian STD Advisory Committee. Samples were analysed at baseline and at week 1 and week 2 after antibiotic therapy in urethritis patients, and at baseline and week 2 in the control group. HIV-1-seropositive men with urethritis had HIV-1 RNA concentrations in seminal plasma eight times higher than those in seropositive men without urethritis (12.4 vs 1.51 x 10(4) copies/mL, p = 0.035), despite similar CD4 counts and concentrations of blood plasma viral RNA. Gonorrhoea was associated with the greatest concentration of HIV-1 in semen (15.8 x 10(4) copies/mL). After the urethritis patients received antimicrobial therapy directed against STDs, the concentration of HIV-1 RNA in semen decreased significantly (from 12.4 x 10(4) copies/mL to 8.91 x 10(4) copies/mL at 1 week [p = 0.03] and 4.12 x 10(4) copies/mL at 2 weeks [p = 0.0001]). Blood plasma viral RNA concentrations did not change. There was no significant change in seminal plasma HIV-1 RNA concentrations during the 2-week period in the control group (p = 0.421). These results suggest that urethritis increases the infectiousness of men with HIV-1 infection. HIV-1-control programmes, which include detection and treatment of STDs in patients already infected with HIV-1, may help to curb the epidemic. Targeting of gonococcal urethritis may be a particularly effective strategy.
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          Prevalence of sexually transmitted co-infections in people living with HIV/AIDS: systematic review with implications for using HIV treatments for prevention.

          Sexually transmitted co-infections increase HIV infectiousness through local inflammatory processes. The prevalence of STI among people living with HIV/AIDS has implications for containing the spread of HIV in general and the effectiveness of HIV treatments for prevention in particular. Here we report a systematic review of STI co-infections in people living with HIV/AIDS. We focus on STI contracted after becoming HIV infected. Electronic database and manual searches located 37 clinical and epidemiological studies of STI that increase HIV infectiousness. Studies of adults living with HIV/AIDS from developed and developing countries reported STI rates for 46 different samples (33 samples had clinical/laboratory confirmed STI). The overall mean point-prevalence for confirmed STI was 16.3% (SD=16.4), and median 12.4% STI prevalence in people living with HIV/AIDS. The most common STI studied were Syphilis with median 9.5% prevalence, Gonorrhea 9.5%, Chlamydia 5%, and Trichamoniasis 18.8% prevalence. STI prevalence was greatest at the time of HIV diagnosis, reflecting the role of STI in HIV transmission. Prevalence of STI among individuals receiving HIV treatment was not appreciably different from untreated persons. The prevalence of STI in people infected with HIV suggests that STI co-infections could undermine efforts to use HIV treatments for prevention by increasing genital secretion infectiousness.

            Author and article information

            [1 ]Department of Sexual Health, Infectious Diseases, and Environmental Health, South Limburg Public Health Service, P.O. Box 2022, 6160 HA, Geleen, The Netherlands
            [2 ]Department of Medical Microbiology, School of Public Health and Primary Care (CAPHRI), Maastricht University Medical Centre (MUMC+), PO Box 5800, 6202 AZ, Maastricht, The Netherlands
            [3 ]Department of Integrated Care, Maastricht University Medical Centre, PO Box 5800, 6202 AZ, Maastricht, The Netherlands
            [4 ]Department of Internal Medicine, section Infectious Diseases, Maastricht University Medical Centre (MUMC+), PO Box 5800, 6202 AZ, Maastricht, The Netherlands
            [5 ]School of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Tilburg University, PO Box 90153, 5000 LE, Tilburg, the Netherlands
            BMC Public Health
            BMC Public Health
            BMC Public Health
            BioMed Central
            27 December 2012
            : 12
            : 1118
            Copyright ©2012 Dukers-Muijrers et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

            This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

            Research Article

            Public health

            quality of care, hiv, services integration, public health care, hospital care, sti


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