STIRIG Newsletter | June 2019                                                            View this email in your browser

Sexually Transmitted Infections
Research Interest Group (STIRIG)
Issue 3: June 2019
RD Students - the next generation of STI researchers

This issue's Spotlight focuses on the next generation of STI researchers. LSHTM Research Degrees Student projects include basic science, epidemiology, social science and modelling.

Claire Broad, who is part of the MRC London Intercollegiate Doctoral Training Partnership (MRC LID) between St George’s University of London and LSHTM, is estimating prevalence of STIs among female sex workers in Ecuador. Using the samples collected for the prevalence estimates, she plans to optimise enrichment and amplification methods to allow whole genome sequencing to identify strain types, geographical clustering and antimicrobial resistance patterns within the sample population.

Amanda Gabster is using mixed methods to investigate the prevalence of STIs and behaviors among indigenous adolescents of the Comarca Ngäbe-Buglé in Panama, and has found a very high prevalence of chlamydia among young men (11%) and young women (18%), and a high prevalence of HPV (33%) and bacterial vaginosis (43%) among young women.

Daniel McCartney is investigating STIs among transgender women in Brazil, who have been underrepresented in epidemiological studies of STIs. These research findings will have important policy and public health implications in Brazil and internationally for improving STI screening of this often over-looked and under-served population.

Imran Morhason-Bello is using mixed methods to investigate the association between oral and anal sex and extra-genital HPV infections among adolescent girls and young women from the general populations and brothel-based female sex workers in Nigeria.

Amy Sturt is evaluating the association between female genital schistosomiasis (FGS), vaginal microbiota and STIs. The vaginal microbiota in FGS have not yet been evaluated and literature evaluating the association of FGS and STI is limited. This may provide further evidence to strengthen the understanding of the mechanism of the association of FGS with HIV acquisition.

Henry Cust is  modelling the decision to have unprotected (condomless) sex as a rational economic decision to earn additional money in times of need among female sex workers. He will explore the evidence that economic shocks lead to risky sexual behaviours and STIs.

Victoria Miari is evaluating antimicrobial compounds that could potentially treat gonorrhoea. Multi-drug resistant gonococcal strains have been surfacing spontaneously since 2011 and since then, no new antimicrobials have been approved to reliably treat gonorrhoea. She has evaluated the activity of closthioamide and chlorehexidine. The latter is readily available within dental mouthwashes, to be used topically as a gargle for pharyngeal gonorrhoea.

Read more about each of these RD Student Projects on the STIRIG website.
STIRIG News and Events
Upcoming STIRIG Seminar!
Bending the HIV epidemic in rural South Africa: Why we should be paying attention to young people's psychosocial and sexual well-being by Dr Maryam Shahmanesh from UCL and the Africa Health Research Institute. Thursday, 11th July - 12:45 to 2pm in John Snow A. This event is co-sponsored with MARCH and will be live streamed.

Missed a previous STIRIG Seminar? 
You can find past seminars on the STIRIG Seminar Series page.
BASHH Annual Conference in Birmingham (30 June - 2 July): Registration is OPEN! Natsal at BASHH: The Natsal team will be hosting a stand at the BASHH Annual Conference. As part of preparations to ensure the new wave of Natsal is ‘fit-for-purpose’ ahead of interviews starting in 2021, we’re keen to get stakeholders’ input – so we need you! Please do pop by to find out more about this internationally-renowned study, what the new wave will focus on, how it will be done – and why, and importantly, to add your voice as to the questions that you think Natsal-4 needs to ask. If you can’t make it to our stand, then you can still participate in Natsal’s online consultation which will be going live in July. Further information will be available via Twitter - @NatsalStudy – and at We look forward to hearing from you!
STI & HIV 2019 World Congress, Joint Meeting of the 23rd ISSTDR & 20th IUSTI Congress 14-17 July, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada: Registration is OPEN!

IUSTI-Europe the 33rd IUSTI-Europe Congress on Sexually Transmitted Infections, Tallinn, Estonia, 5-7 September 2019. Registration is OPEN!

IPVC2020: the 33rd International Papillomavirus Conference & Basic Science, Clinical and Public Health Workshops will be held in Barcelona, Spain from 23rd to 27th March in 2020. Abstract Submission is OPEN - deadline is 10 September 2019.

The WHO and Find (Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics) are having a public consultation - they are requesting feedback on two target product profiles for improved antimicrobial stewardship of gonorrhea treatment. Access the online survey here. The survey closes on 30 June!

Vacancy: Editor-in-Chief, BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health
BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health, the official journal of the FSRH, is recruiting a new Editor-in-Chief to start in October 2019. BMJ seeks someone with a vision for the journal to provide engaging and informed content and build the journal’s international reputation and profile. The closing date is 15th June 2019. For a full role description and information about the application process, please visit

Vacancy for the Sexual Health Improvement Programme (SHIP) project manager (2-8 hours per week depending on the grade). SHIP was set up as a Bristol Health Partners Health Integration Team in 2013. It brings together UK experts from across disciplines to improve the sexual health of people in the region and reduce STIs. The team supports the commissioning of evidence-based sexual health services. SHIP and STIRIG are strategic partners - see here for 2018-19 successes. If interested, please contact Katy Turner:

How should sexual health services be improved in the UK?  Five recommendations for a new national strategy by the Health and Social Care Committee were made to the Government, and the report was published on 2 June. You can read about it here
Funding opportunities
The MRC have just announced their latest Public Health Intervention Development (PHIND) scheme, which supports early stage development of interventions that address an important public health issue.  Projects can be a maximum of 18 months duration, and up to £150K.  The closing date for the scheme is 18th July 2019.  Further details of the PHIND call here.
ISSF Partnership Grants
The ISSF Partnership Grants offer flexible funding to support the exploration, development and consolidation of collaborations between LSHTM Faculty and MRC Unit staff and/or LSHTM priority partner institutions in sub-Saharan Africa, such as AHRI​ (South Africa), BRTI (Zimbabwe), MEIRU (Malawi), MITU (Tanzania), and Zambart (Zambia).

​Three levels of grant are available:​​
1. Travel grants to explore and develop collaborations (up to £5,000)
2. Collaborative workshop funding to explore opportunities for potential research collaborations (up to £20,000)
3. Small grants to conduct collaborative research projects (up to £50,000 for up to 12 months in duration)
Please visit the ISSF opportunities intranet page for further information about the call and to access the application form. The deadline for applications is 12:00 noon on Monday 15 July 2019.

Wellcome Vaccines/AMR
Wellcome Trust are looking for proposals to analyse AMR data related to vaccine use (either existing data or collecting and analysing new AMR date from ongoing/planned vaccine studies).  You can apply for a small award of up to £250,000 or a large award between £250,000 - £750,000.  In the first instance you’re invited to email a brief outline of your proposal to WT who will then contact you within two working days to advise whether you’ll be invited to submit a full application.  The deadline for the email proposal is 6th September, with the full application due by 12th September.  As they’re reviewing emails on an ongoing basis, it makes sense to apply ASAP, particularly as you’d need more than a week to gain the necessary Faculty approvals for a full application. Further details here.
STI Resources
The STIRIG resource webpage has links for STI-related guidelines, trainings, conferences, professional societies and more!
Featured Publications
Both internal and external publications featured
The latest in WHO prevalence and incidence estimates:
Jane Rowley, Stephen Vander Hoorn, Eline Korenromp, Nicola Low, Magnus Unemo, Laith J Abu-Raddad, R Matthew Chico, Alex Smolak, Lori Newman, Sami Gottlieb, Soe Thwin, Nathalie Broutet & Melanie M Taylor. Chlamydia, gonorrhoea, trichomoniasis and syphilis: global prevalence and incidence estimates, 2016. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Online first

Two cluster randomised trials on STI management during antenatal care, with a comment by LSHTM's Philippe Mayaud. The first CRT investigated the effect of a behavioral intervention plus supplies for testing and treatment vs. supplies only on testing coverage for syphilis, and emphasizes that the sole provision of supplies is not sufficient to reach high levels of screening coverage. The second is a protocol for a CRT that will expands point-of-care testing from syphilis and HIV to chlamydia, gonorrhea and trichomoniasis.

Althabe F, Chomba E, Tshefu AK, Banda E, Belizán M, Bergel E, Berrueta M, Bertrand J, Bose C, Cafferata ML, Carlo WA, Ciganda A, Donnay F, García Elorrio E, Gibbons L, Klein K, Liljestrand J, Lusamba PD, Mavila AK, Mazzoni A, Nkamba DM, Mwanakalanga FH, Mwapule Tembo A, Mwenechanya M, Pyne-Mercier L, Spira C, Wetshikoy JD, Xiong X, Buekens P (2019) A multifaceted intervention to improve syphilis screening and treatment in pregnant women in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Lusaka, Zambia: a cluster randomised controlled trial. Lancet Global Health, Vol 7 (5).

Freddy Perez and Philippe Mayaud (2019) One step in the right direction: improving syphilis  screening and treatment in pregnant women in Africa. Lancet Global Health, Vol 7 (5).

Vallely, Andrew J; Pomat, William S; Homer, Caroline; Guy, Rebecca; Luchters, Stanley; Mola, Glen DL; Kariwiga, Grace; Vallely, Lisa M; Wiseman, Virginia; Morgan, Chris; +21 more... (2019) Point-of-care testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections to improve birth outcomes in high-burden, low-income settings: study protocol for a cluster randomized crossover trial (the WANTAIM Trial, Papua New Guinea). Wellcome Open Research, 4 (53). 
LSHTM STI-related Publications
Publications deposited to LSHTM Research Online between  24 01 19 and 06 06 19

Fuller, Sebastian S; Pacho, Agata; Broad, Claire E; Nori, Achyuta V; Harding-Esch, Emma M; Sadiq, Syed Tariq; (2019) "It's not a time spent issue, it's a 'what have you spent your time doing?' issue…" A qualitative study of UK patient opinions and expectations for implementation of Point of Care Tests for sexually transmitted infections and antimicrobial resistance. PLOS ONE, 14 (4).

Morhason-Bello I, Kabakama S, Baisley K, Francis SC, Watson-Jones D. Reported oral and anal sex among heterosexual adolescents and adults in sub-Saharan Africa: A systematic review. Reprod. Health 16, 48 (2019).

Francis SC, Miiro G, Nakuya K, Rutakumwa R, Nakiyingi-Miiro J, Nabaggala G, Musoke S, Namakula J, Tanton C, Torondel T, Ross DA, Weiss HA. Self-collection of vaginal swabs among adolescent girls in a school-setting in East Africa. Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 2019 May 5; 46 (5).

Baisley, Kathy; Andreasen, Aura; Irani, Julia; Nnko, Soori; Changalucha, John; Crucitti, Tanya; Francis, Suzanna Carter; Hansen, Christian; Hayes, Richard; Buve, Anne; +1 more... (2019) HPV prevalence around the time of sexual debut in adolescent girls in Tanzania. Sexually Transmitted Infections.  (In Press)

Harrison, Mark; Harding-Esch, Emma; Marks, M; Pond, MJ; Butcher, R; Solomon, AW; Zhou, L; Tan, NK; Nori, AV; Kako, H; +3 more... (2019) Impact of mass drug administration of azithromycin for trachoma elimination on prevalence and azithromycin resistance of genital Mycoplasma genitalium infection. Sexually Transmitted Infections. Published Online First: 13 April 2019

Wayal, S; Reid, D; Weatherburn, P; Blomquist, P; Fabiane, S; Hughes, G; Mercer, CH; (2019) Association between knowledge, risk behaviours, and testing for sexually transmitted infections among men who have sex with men: findings from a large online survey in the United Kingdom. HIV medicine. 2019 May 24
Bains, Irenjeet; Choi, Yoon Hong; Soldan, Kate; Jit, Mark; (2019) Clinical impact and cost-effectiveness of primary cytology versus human papillomavirus testing for cervical cancer screening in England. International journal of gynecological cancer. ISSN 1048-891X DOI:
Warren-Gash, Charlotte; Forbes, Harriet J; Williamson, Elizabeth; Breuer, Judith; Hayward, Andrew C; Mavrodaris, Angelique; Ridha, Basil H; Rossor, Martin N; Thomas, Sara L; Smeeth, Liam; (2019) Human herpesvirus infections and dementia or mild cognitive impairment: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Scientific reports, 9 (1). p. 4743. 

Ayoub, Houssein H; Chemaitelly, Hiam; Abu-Raddad, Laith J; (2019) Characterizing the transitioning epidemiology of herpes simplex virus type 1 in the USA: model-based predictions. BMC medicine, 17 (1). 57-. ISSN 1741-7015 DOI:
M Kumi, Smith; Stein, Gabriella; Cheng, Weibin; Miller, William C; Tucker, Joseph D; (2019) Identifying high risk subgroups of MSM: a latent class analysis using two samples. BMC infectious diseases, 19 (1). p. 213. 

King, Carina; Llewellyn, Carrie; Shahmanesh, Maryam; Abraham, Charles; Bailey, Julia; Burns, Fiona; Clark, Laura; Copas, Andrew; Howarth, Alison; Hughes, Gwenda; +7 more... (2019) Sexual risk reduction interventions for patients attending sexual health clinics: a mixed-methods feasibility study. Health technology assessment, 23 (12). pp. 1-122.

Karafillakis, Emilie; Simas, Clarissa; Jarrett, Caitlin; Verger, Pierre; Peretti-Watel, Patrick; Dib, Fadia; De Angelis, Stefania; Takacs, Judit; Ali, Karam Adel; Pastore Celentano, Lucia; +1 more... (2019) HPV vaccination in a context of public mistrust and uncertainty: a systematic literature review of determinants of HPV vaccine hesitancy in Europe. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics. pp. 1-13. ISSN 2164-5515 DOI:

Kohli, Manik; Hickson, Ford; Free, Caroline; Reid, David; Weatherburn, Peter; (2019) Cross-sectional analysis of chemsex drug use and gonorrhoea diagnosis among men who have sex with men in the UK. Sexual Health. DOI:

Kuteesa, Monica O; Quaife, Mathew; Biraro, Sam; Katumba, Kenneth R; Seeley, Janet; Kamali, Anatoli; Nakanjako, Damalie; (2019) Acceptability and predictors of uptake of anti-retroviral Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) among fishing communities in Uganda: a cross-sectional discrete choice experiment survey. AIDS and behavior. AIDS Behav. 2019 Feb 8.
Todesco, Eve; Day, Nesrine; Amiel, Corinne; Elaerts, Stéphane; Schneider, Véronique; Roudiere, Laurent; Hue, Stéphane; Liotier, Jean-Yves; Bottero, Julie; L'yavanc, Thomas; +11 more... (2019) High Clustering of Acute HCV Infections and High Rate of Associated STIs Among Parisian HIV-Positive Male Patients. International journal of antimicrobial agents. 2019 May;53(5):678-681
Sonnenberg, Pam; Tanton, Clare; Mesher, David; King, Eleanor; Beddows, Simon; Field, Nigel; Mercer, Catherine H; Soldan, Kate; Johnson, Anne M; (2019) Epidemiology of genital warts in the British population: implications for HPV vaccination programmes. Sexually transmitted infections. ISSN 1368-4973 DOI:

Schmidt, Axel Jeremias; Altpeter, Ekkehardt; (2019) The Denominator problem: estimating the size of local populations of men-who-have-sex-with-men and rates of HIV and other STIs in Switzerland. Sexually transmitted infections. ISSN 1368-4973 DOI:
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