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South Africa: Study Recommends Simultaneous Testing for HIV, STIs

June 4, 2014

This article was reported by HCPLive.

HCPLive reported on a study that concluded that healthcare professionals should test patients for both HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) simultaneously. Mark Laurie and Brown University colleagues reviewed clinical records of 1,465 South African HIV patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART). The researchers analyzed the patients' clinical visits and compared STI treatment rates before and after the patients began ART.

Of 1,465 studied patient records, researchers found that 131 individuals had sought treatment on 232 occasions, and 203 of these requests for treatment were before the patients had begun ART. Patients had a rate of STI treatment-seeking seven times higher before beginning ART than after ART.

Results showed that HIV-positive men and HIV patients younger than 25 were more likely to seek treatment for STIs, while patients with more advanced HIV were less likely to seek treatment. Since STIs were less common after patients were on ART, the period before ART is very important. The researchers recommend that healthcare providers perform HIV and STI tests simultaneously. According to researchers, the high STI rate among HIV-positive individuals before ART provides an opportunity to prevent transmission of both HIV and STIs to partners.

The full report, "High Burden of STIs Among HIV-Infected Adults Prior to Initiation of ART in South Africa: A Retrospective Cohort Study," was published online in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections (2014; doi:10.1136/sextrans-2013-051446).

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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