Author Interviews, OBGYNE, STD / 04.11.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sean HughesSean M Hughes MA Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology University of Washington Seattle, WA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Young women are at elevated risk of getting sexually transmitted infections at the age when they typically start to have sexual intercourse. It’s not known whether this elevated risk is a consequence of behavioral factors (such as choices around use of barrier protection), physiological factors (such as a difference in the immune system) or a combination of both. In this study, we investigated a physiological factor: the immune system in the vagina. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, NYU, STD, USPSTF / 30.09.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gbenga Ogedegbe, MD, MPH Dr. Adolph & Margaret Berger Professor of Population Health Director, Division of Health & Behavior Director Center for Healthful Behavior Change Department of Population Health NYU Langone Health NYU School of Medicine Member of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Syphilis has become more common over the past 20 years, after reaching a record low in 2000. The Task Force found that screening people who are at increased risk for syphilis can identify the infection early so it can be treated before problems develop. For that reason, the Task Force recommends screening people who are at increased risk for syphilis infection. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, OBGYNE, STD / 16.02.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Irene A. Stafford, M.S., M.D. Associate Professor Associate Program Director Maternal - Fetal Medicine Fellowship Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study? Response: We have observed disproportionately high-rates syphilis in the US over the last several years, and here in Texas. As this is now leading to health alerts in our cities, it is key we bring attention to this infection regarding risks to the pregnant patient and her fetus. Syphilis carries a nearly 40% neonatal mortality rate, so testing and treating is key in preventing this devastating neonatal infection. We need to encourage and offer testing at intake to pregnancy care, and any time a patient desires to be tested for STI.   (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, JAMA, Sexual Health, STD, USPSTF / 21.09.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Martha Kubik, Ph.D., R.N. Professor, School of Nursing College of Health and Human Services George Mason University Member, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Are these infections increasing in incidence in the US? Response: Chlamydia and gonorrhea are two of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the U.S. More people are being diagnosed with both of these STIs than ever, with nearly 2 million cases of chlamydia and more than 600,000 cases of gonorrhea reported in 2019, according to the CDC. Because most do not have symptoms, screening is vitally important to help ensure that these infections are discovered and treated, and serious health complications prevented. (more…)
Author Interviews, Duke, JAMA, Nursing, Sexual Health, STD / 12.08.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, PhD MPH, LCSW, RN, ANP-BC, PMHNP-BC, AAHIVS, FAAN Vincent Guilamo-Ramos is dean and professor at the Duke University School of Nursing, vice chancellor for nursing affairs, Duke University, and director of the Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health (CLAFH) at Duke. Dr. Guilamo-Ramos served as a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (National Academies) Committee on Prevention and Control of STIs in the U.S. that wrote the recent consensus study report. He also serves as a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) and the HHS Panel on Antiretroviral Guidelines for Adults and Adolescents. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (National Academies) recently released a consensus study report on prevention and control of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the United States. The report entitled “Sexually Transmitted Infections: Adopting a Sexual Health Paradigm” includes a strong emphasis on adolescents and young adults as an important priority population for the response to record-level STI rates that have reached an all-time high for the sixth year in a row in 2019. The report also highlights the well-supported and crucial role of parents in addressing STIs and promoting sexual health among adolescents and young adults. In this new Viewpoint article, my co-authors and I, who contributed to the National Academies report as committee members or consultants, discuss the practical implications for health care professionals of engaging parents in adolescent sexual health services. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, STD / 19.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Barbara Van Der Pol, PhD, MPH President, American STD Association President-Elect, International Society fo STD Research Professor of Medicine & Public Health Director, STD Diagnostics Lab Director, UAB STD Clinical Research Organization University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, AL  35294 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: For many decades, public health programs focused on control and prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STI) have relied on lab based tests that required a 1-day to 1-week wait for test results.  Efforts to shorten the duration of infection lead to treating at the time of the clinic visit based on the association between certain clinical signs or symptoms and the likelihood of infection. Unfortunately, more than ½ of infected persons do not have signs or symptoms so they receive no treatment until test results are available. Thus, a test that could be performed at the clinical site with a limited wait time would improve the accuracy of treatment and shorten the duration of infection. Such a strategy will hopefully reduce the number of return clinic visits, the possibility of transmission, and the potential for consequences of untreated infection such as infertility.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, OBGYNE, Sexual Health, STD / 13.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gregory Kaufman, M.D. Senior Vice President Global Clinical and Medical Affairs Specialty at Lupin MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by trichomoniasis?  How common is this infection? Response: The Phase 3 trial evaluated the effectiveness and safety of a single oral dose of Solosec® (secnidazole) 2g oral granules for the treatment of trichomoniasis in adult women. Top-line results were positive and showed that Solosec was generally well-tolerated. Trichomoniasis is the most common non-viral sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the U.S., and is caused by a protozoan parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis.[i] Trichomoniasis affects 3 to 5 million people in the U.S.,[ii] and is four- to five-times more prevalent in in women, compared to men.[iii]. (more…)
Author Interviews, HIV, JAMA, Sexual Health, STD / 11.12.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jason Ong, PhD, MMed, MBBS, FAChSHM, FRACGP Twitter: @DrJasonJOng Sexual Health Physician, Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, Alfred Health Associate Professor (Hon), London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK Central Clinical School, Monash University, Australia Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Australia Associate Editor, Sexually Transmitted Infections Special Issues Editor, Sexual Health Board Director, ASHM   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is being rolled out globally. This will protect many people from HIV, however PrEP does not protect against other sexually transmitted infections (STI). So we wanted to quantify how much STIs are in PrEP users as a means to advocate to strengthen sexual health services in these settings where PrEP is being offered. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Sexual Health, STD, Technology, UCSD / 09.11.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alicia Nobles, PhD, MS Research Fellow Department of Medicine UC San Diego  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are at record-high rates according to the Centers for Disease Control. Between STDs being highly stigmatized infections and people lacking access to health care, people may elect to turn to social media to connect with others. This is precisely why social media sites are so popular - because they do allow for people to talk with others rapidly. Reddit, a social media site that rivals Twitter with 330 million active users and is the 6th most visited website in the United States, is organized into online communities, many of which discuss health topics. We monitored all r/STD (www.reddit.com/r/STD/) posts, where users can find “anything and everything STD related,” from its inception in November 2010 through February 2019.   (more…)
Author Interviews, HIV, Infections, STD, UCSD / 05.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Martin Hoenigl, MD Assistant Professor UCSD MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Technology has changed the way men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM) seek sex. Over 60% of MSM in the US use the internet and/or smartphone-based geospatial networking apps to find sex partners. Grindr™, a sophisticated geosocial networking app, is the most frequently used dating app among MSM in the United States. Previous research has shown that MSM who use Grindr™ have a greater frequency risky sexual behavior, and more sexual partners, but little is known about the association between Grindr™ use and prevention behavior such as the use of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). We evaluated risk behavior, PrEP use, and Grindr™ usage among MSM receiving community-based HIV and bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening in central San Diego. Participants who tested negative for HIV and who were not on PrEP were offered immediate PrEP.  (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Sexual Health, STD / 21.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lee Warner, PhD Chief of the Women’s Health and Fertility Branch Division of Reproductive Health CDC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Previous research has found lower prevalence of condom use combined with the most effective reversible contraceptive methods among teens, but this is the first study to our knowledge to confirm the finding among sexually active teen mothers in the postpartum period. Our new paper finds that only 3 in 10 postpartum teen mothers report using condoms combined with a more effective contraceptive method (either long-acting reversible contraception or LARC or a non-LARC hormonal method). Dual use was 50 percent lower among LARC users compared with users of non-LARC hormonal methods. (more…)
Author Interviews, HIV, HPV, Race/Ethnic Diversity, STD, Vaccine Studies / 08.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Perry N Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH Dean and Professor Department of Urban-Global Public Health Rutgers Public Health  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: The rate of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is high among young minority gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men despite the availability of a vaccine that can prevent the infection, a Rutgers School of Public Health study found. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Infections, STD, Vaccine Studies / 01.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lisa T. Wigfall, PhD, MCHES(R) Assistant Professor, Health and Kinesiology Texas A&M MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Human papilloma virus (or HPV) is a very common sexually transmitted infection that can cause some types of cancer. These include anal, cervical, oral, penile, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. Some people such as people who are HIV-positive and men who have sex with men have a greater risk for developing HPV-associated cancers. The risk of developing anal cancer is significantly higher for men who have sex with men who are also HIV-positive. Our study included adults who were at risk for becoming HIV-positive, which included having unprotected anal sex. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Ophthalmology, Pediatrics, STD, USPSTF / 05.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael Silverstein, M.D., M.P.H. Professor of Pediatrics Director of the Division of General Academic Pediatrics Vice chair of research for the Department of Pediatrics Boston University School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Gonococcal ophthalmia neonatorum, or GON, is a severe infection of the eye that can occur in babies born to women who have gonorrhea. If left untreated, GON can cause serious problems, including blindness, that can appear as soon as 24 hours after delivery. Fortunately, there are effective treatments available that can prevent GON in newborns. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force reviewed the most current research on the benefits and harms of ocular prophylaxis—which is applying antibiotic ointment to the babies’ eyes at birth—to prevent GON. We found that, if applied within 24 hours after birth, the ointment is very effective at preventing gonococcal ophthalmia neonatorum and the problems it causes. Therefore, we are recommending that clinicians provide this preventive service for all newborns.  (more…)
Author Interviews, NEJM, STD / 07.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Edward W. Hook, III, MD University of Alabama at Birmingham Medicine / Infectious Diseases Birmingham, AL MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Zoliflodacin represents a new class of antibiotics (spiropyrimidinetriones) with in vitro activity against Neisseria gonorrhoeae, as well as other STD  pathogens (Chlamydia trachomatis and Mycoplasma genitalium).  Because of this promising data and the fact that the manufacturer (Entasis Pharmaceuticals) was willing to pursue the possibility of using this drug to treat gonorrhea, a Phase II trial was conducted which showed he drug to be 96% effective for genital or rectal infections.  The drug was well tolerated as well making it a promising drug for gonorrhea treatment which might help to combat the increasing problem of antibiotic resistant gonorrhea.  (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, OBGYNE, STD, USPSTF / 09.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Melissa A. Simon, M.D., M.P.H. Member, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force George H. Gardner professor of clinical gynecology, Vice chair of clinical research Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Professor of preventive medicine and medical social sciences Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The number of babies born with syphilis is increasing, mirroring the recent increase of syphilis among women. Syphilis infection passed from a pregnant woman to her baby, also known as congenital syphilis, can lead to serious health complications for the baby including premature birth, low birthweight, birth defects, and even death. The Task Force recommends that all pregnant women be screened for syphilis as early in pregnancy as possible to prevent congenital syphilis.  (more…)
Author Interviews, HIV, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Pediatrics, STD / 24.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Monika K. Goyal, M.D., M.S.C.E., senior study author Assistant professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine Children’s National Health System Washington, DC  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Patients with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) are at an increased risk for syphilis and HIV. We know that adolescents account for 20 percent of the 1 million cases of PID that are diagnosed each year. We also know that an estimated one in four sexually active adolescent females has a sexually transmitted infection (STI). While screening for syphilis and HIV is recommended when diagnosing PID, actual screening rates among adolescents have been understudied. This multi-center study aimed to quantify rates of HIV and syphilis screening in young women diagnosed with . pelvic inflammatory disease in pediatric emergency departments and to explore patient- and hospital-specific characteristics associated with screening for these two sexually transmitted infections. (more…)
Author Interviews, HIV, Infections, Lancet, STD / 12.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Jean-Michel Molina MD Head of Department of Infectious Diseases, Hôpital Saint-Louis Paris France  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There is a high rate of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among Pre-exposure prophylaxis users and we wished to assess whether post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) with doxycycline could reduce the incidence of sexually transmitted infections in this population. We have found indeed a high rate of STIs most of them (71%) being asymptomatic and warranting therefore systematic testing. Also PEP reduced the incidence of syphilis and chlamydiae infection by 70%, not for gonorrhea due to the high rate of detection in throat swabs without any impact of PEP. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, Lancet, STD, Vaccine Studies / 11.07.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Helen Petousis-Harris. BSc, PhD Senior Lecturer, Dept General Practice and Primary Health Care Academic Head, Immunisation Research and Vaccinology Immunisation Advisory Centre School of Population Health, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences University of Auckland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Early thinking came from two quarters. One, the observation that the NZ OMV vaccine appeared broadly protective – beyond the clone it was based on and two, the observation of graphs depicting annual number of cases from both Cuba and NZ. There is nothing to suggest other types of meningococcal vaccine have had any effect on gonorrhoea so we are interested in the OMV vaccines. This led to the hypothesis that as these two Neisseria species are related the meningococcal OMV in the form of a vaccine may offer some kind of cross protection. To explore this possibility we conducted a case-control study that compared the vaccination status of cases (gonorrhoea) and controls (Clamydia). We found that the cases with gonorrhoea were less likely to be vaccinated than the controls and after we controlled for confounders – ethnicity, SE deprivation, age we found a vaccine effectiveness of 31%. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Fertility, Sexual Health, STD / 01.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Kristen Kreisel PhD Epidemiologist at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Centers for Disease Control and Prevention MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), an infection of the female reproductive tract often associated with STDs, is putting millions of women at risk for infertility, ectopic pregnancy and chronic pelvic pain. Our study looked at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to estimate the national burden of PID. Findings show an estimated 4.4 percent of sexually-experienced women aged 18-44, or approximately 2.5 million woman nationwide reported a history of PID. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, HIV, STD / 17.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael Rekart, MD, DTM&H Clinical Professor, Medicine and Global Health The University of British Columbia .... On behalf of my co-authors MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The background for this study is the observation that new syphilis cases over the last decade in British Columbia, Canada, have been escalating more rapidly than anyone could have predicted and that syphilis incidence has outpaced the incidence of other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including gonorrhea and chlamydia. This unexpected increase in syphilis has been almost wholly concentrated in men who have sex with men (MSM). Most of these MSM are HIV-1 infected and many are taking highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). In fact, the expansion in HAART coverage in MSM parallels the growth in syphilis in the same population. In addition, my co-authors and I had serious doubts as to whether 'treatment optimism', the generally accepted explanation for this phenomenon, was robust enough to account for such a dramatic increase in new syphilis cases. Treatment optimism posits that HAART availability and effectiveness have led to the perception in both HIV-1-infected and HIV-1-uninfected individuals that HIV-1 transmission has become much less likely, and the effects of HIV-1 infection less deadly. This is expected to result in increased sexual risk-taking, especially unprotected anal intercourse, leading to more non-HIV-1 STDs, including gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Dermatology, Herpes Viruses, HIV, Infections, STD / 12.12.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: E. Charles Osterberg, M.D. Assistant Professor of Surgery Genitourinary Reconstruction and Trauma University of Texas- Dell Medical School Dell-Seton Medical Center / University Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Pubic hair grooming has become an increasingly common practice among men and women. Perceptions of genital normalcy have changed as modern society’s definition of attractiveness and feelings of femininity and masculinity have changed. Pubic hair grooming has been shown to increase morbidity such as genital injuries, however little is known about the relationship between grooming practices and sexually transmitted infections. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Gender Differences, STD / 06.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alex de Voux, PhD, Epidemiologist Centers for Disease Control Division of STD Prevention MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Reported cases of primary and secondary syphilis have been increasing steadily in the United States since 2001, with men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM) accounting for 83% of male primary and secondary syphilis cases with information on sex of sex partner in 2014. However calculating the true disparity of primary and secondary syphilis cases relative to the MSM population size has been difficult because census data does not routinely collect information on sexual orientation or same-sex behavior. Through a recent collaboration with Emory University and CDC, Grey and colleagues developed refined estimates of the population size of MSM by state allowing us to calculate state-specific rates of primary and secondary syphilis for the first time. Looking at data from 44 states that had information on sex of sex partner for at least 70% of their male primary and secondary syphilis cases, the overall rate of syphilis was 309 per 100,000. The state level data found syphilis rates among gay and bisexual men ranged widely among the 44 states, from 73.1 per 100,000 in Alaska to 748.3 per 100,000 in North Carolina. Some of the highest rates among MSM were in states in the Southeast and the West. Comparing rates of syphilis among MSM to men reporting sex with women only (MSW), the overall rate for MSM was 107 times the rate for MSW. By state, the rate among MSM was at least 40 times the rate among MSW – and at most, 340 times the rate among MSW. (more…)
Author Interviews, HIV, Infections, STD / 16.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Noah Kojima David Geffen School of Medicine University of California Los Angeles, California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: One of the most exciting new methods to prevent human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 infection is through the use of chemical pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which has been shown to be safe and effective in randomized-controlled trials and “real world” studies among men who have sex with men (MSM). However, reports of high incidence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and condomless sex in PrEP trials has led clinicians and public health advocates to be concerned that the use of PrEP for HIV might lead to higher STI incidence due to increased sexual risk behavior. We found that PrEP for HIV infection is associated with increased risk of STI acquisition among MSM in a meta-analysis of prior studies. (more…)
Author Interviews, Global Health, Lancet, Methamphetamine, OBGYNE, STD / 29.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: N. Saman Wijesooriya Public Health Advisor/Technical Advisor Centers for Disease Control and Prevention MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The article Global burden of maternal and congenital syphilis in 2008 and 2012: a health systems modeling study by Wijesooriya, et al published in the August 2016 issue of The Lancet Global Health (Open source - http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(16)30135-8) estimates the incidence and prevalence of maternal and congenital syphilis for both time periods and identifies gaps antenatal care access and syphilis testing and treatment services to assess progress in the global elimination of congenital syphilis, or mother-to-child transmission of syphilis, as a public health problem. Untreated maternal syphilis is understood to be transmitted from mother-to-child in utero in 50% of cases resulting in tragic adverse pregnancy outcomes, or congenital syphilis infections, including early fetal death, stillbirth, preterm birth, low birthweight, neonatal death, and congenital infections in infants. Since most maternal syphilis infections are asymptomatic, it is recommended that screening for syphilis use a combination of serological tests for pregnant women and treatment of syphilis seropositive women with at least 2.4 million units of benzathine penicillin intramuscularly early in pregnancy to prevent most congenital syphilis infections. In 2007, the World Health Organization responded to estimates indicating 2 million maternal and 1.5 congenital syphilis infections would occur annually without treatment and launched the global initiative for the Elimination of Congenital Syphilis (ECS). The strategy includes reducing the prevalence of syphilis in pregnant women and mother-to-child transmission of syphilis. The objective is for countries to achieve high performing antenatal care systems providing access to antenatal care to more than 95% of pregnant women, syphilis testing for more than 95% of pregnant women, and treatment for more than 95% of seropositive women to attain a congenital syphilis rate of 50 or fewer cases per 100,000 live births. (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, HPV, OBGYNE, STD / 12.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dejan R. Nonato, MD, PhD Institute of Tropical Pathology and Public Health School of Medicine Federal University of Goiás Goiânia, GO, Brazil MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Human papillomavirus (HPV) and Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) share the same route of sexual transmission and possess similar risk factors, indicating that co-infection may act synergistically in the induction of epithelial cell abnormalities. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Infections, Sexual Health, STD / 28.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Andrew Amato-Gauci MD Head of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control Programme on HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections and viral hepatitis MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our surveillance data (http://bit.ly/1sXdbVv) show that between 2008 and 2014, the overall rate of officially reported gonorrhoea infections has more than doubled across Europe, going up from 8 per 100 000 population to 20 cases per 100 000 persons. In total, 66 413 gonorrhoea cases were reported in 27 countries of the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA) in 2014 – which constitutes an increase of 25% compared with 2013. The majority of gonorrhoea infections were diagnosed among young adults aged 15–24 years who accounted for 38% of cases; followed by the 25–34-year-olds (34%). For the first time since 2010, the number of cases among women was higher than the number of cases among heterosexual men. Given the risk of reproductive tract complications, e.g. pelvic inflammatory disease or, if untreated, infertility, as well as possible transmission from mother to child, this trend among women is of particular concern. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, PLoS, Sexual Health, STD / 07.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Charu Kaushic. PhD. Professor OHTN Applied HIV Research Chair Department of Pathology and Mol. Medicine McMaster Immunology Research Center, McMaster University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Kaushic: Female sex hormones, estradiol and progesterone have been shown to regulate immune responses in many experimental and clinical studies. We and others have shown previously that these hormones also regulate susceptibility to and outcome of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including Chlamydia, HSV-2, SIV and HIV-1. Most studies show that progesterone generally increases susceptibility while estradiol generally confers protection against STIs. This has recently gained much more widespread attention because of the controversy surrounding use of injectable hormonal contraceptives in geographical areas where there is high prevalence of HIV-1. The most frequently used injectable contraceptive uses a progestin-based formulation which has been correlated with 2-fold increase in HIV acquisition and transmission in epidemiological studies. Oral contraceptives that contain a combination of estradiol and progesterone do not show similar correlation with increased infection. This is currently a very important women’s health issue, which is being carefully monitored by many public health agencies, including WHO. Many researchers are focusing efforts in understanding how sex hormones can increase or decrease susceptibility of women to STIs. We have published in this area for more than a decade, including a series of papers showing that in a mouse model, the outcome of genital herpes (HSV-2) infection can depend on which hormone we treat the mice with. A few years ago, we showed for the first time that mice that received an HSV-2 vaccine under the influence of estradiol were much better protected and showed less disease pathology (Bhavanam et al, Vaccine 2008). These results were reproduced a year later by another group, using an actual HSV-2 vaccine formulation. Since then, we have been working to understand at a cellular level, the underlying mechanism of estradiol-mediated enhanced protection. In this PLOS Pathogens paper, we report for the first time a cellular mechanism by which estradiol was seen to enhance immune protection against HSV-2 infection in mice. The main findings are that estradiol primes dendritic cells in the vaginal tract to induce enhanced anti-viral T cell responses. Dendritic cells are key immune cells that decide what type of immune responses will be mounted against an infection. Under the influence of estradiol, the dendritic cells in the vaginal tract of mice induced Th17 cells which in turn helped enhance anti-viral T cell responses (Th1), resulting in better protection against genital HSV-2. This regulation of anti-viral immunity was seen only in the reproductive tract. (more…)
Author Interviews, STD / 18.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Pam Sonnenberg  Reader in Infectious Disease Epidemiology Research Department of Infection & Population Health University College London London MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Sonnenberg:  This study strengthens growing evidence that Mycoplasma genitalium (MG) is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Analyses of over 4500 of urine samples from Britain’s third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3) showed that MG was prevalent in up to 1% of the general population aged 16-44, who had reported at least one sexual partner. Prevalence was much higher in those who had reported more than four sexual partners in the past year – 5.2% in men and 3.1% in women. Absence of the infection in over 200 16-17 year olds who had not had vaginal, anal, or oral sex provided further evidence that MG is transmitted sexually. The study also analysed risk factors for  Mycoplasma genitalium, such as ethnicity, number of partners, and areas of deprivation. There were strong associations with risky sexual behaviours, with similar behavioural risk factors to other known STIs. The authors found that men of Black ethnicity and those living in the most deprived areas were more likely to test positive for MG. Over 90% of Mycoplasma genitalium in men and over two-thirds of MG cases in women were in those aged 25–44 years; an age group who would not be included in STI prevention measures currently aimed at young people in Britain. Interestingly, the majority of participants who tested positive for MG did not report any STI symptoms in the last month. Over half of women did not report any symptoms, but among those who did, bleeding after sex was most common. Over 90% of MG positive men did not report any symptoms. (more…)