£1.5 million to fight sex infections
Published 11 January 2010
University researchers have been awarded £1.5 million to find ways to treat partners of people with sexually transmitted infections (STIs), to combat the continuing spread of infections.
Increasing numbers of patients are being diagnosed and treated for chlamydia and gonorrhoea, and their partners also need treatment to prevent further transmission.
The study will look for the best ways to get treatment to and test partners who may not realise they are at risk. Treatment can prevent them from re-infecting patients and transmitting infection to new partners.
Professor Jackie Cassell (pictured right), leading the research at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS), a partnership between the universities of Brighton and Sussex, said the study will compare different approaches.
Volunteer patients diagnosed with an STI in Sussex will be given information and will be asked to tell partners about the problem and the need to be treated.
Some will just be given standard information and advice. Others will be offered help in the form of a health adviser offering to inform partners - either straight away or a little while after diagnosis.
GP practices will be randomly split into three groups and trained to manage their patients according to one of the approaches.
Professor Cassell said: “We will measure how well these approaches to partner notification work by comparing how many partners get treated."
"We will also measure how many of the original patients are still infected several weeks later in each group - this is also a good measure of partner notification. Patients may have different preferences for contacting different kinds of partners (for example, ex or current partners) - and we will explore their views in order to help design services."
The study, funded by the National Institute for Health Research, will also examine the cost-effectiveness of each approach.
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