STIRIG Newsletter | January 2019                                                            View this email in your browser

Sexually Transmitted Infections
Research Interest Group (STIRIG)
Issue 2: January 2019
Welcome to the 2nd issue of the STIRIG Newsletter. In December, Jason Ong provided the first STIRIG seminar. Hot on his heels, Joe Tucker will be presenting new research findings from a study evaluating an innovative method to increase STI testing among men who have sex with men (MSM) in China. In December, Lucy Platt and colleagues presented their findings of the health impact of the criminalisation of sex work (see Featured Publication below). With the release of the BASHH Gonorrhoea Guidelines in January, this issue's Spotlight focuses on gonorrhoea. Below, see 2 studies published by Teodora Wi (from the WHO) on gonorrhoea, and several published studies by LSHTM colleagues on STIs.
Gonorrhoea research at LSHTM
Antimicrobial resistant gonorrhoea has been on the public health radar for some time now. More recently, ‘super gonorrhoea’ has crossed into mainstream news, especially with the recent multi-drug resistant (MDR) case.  These MDR gonococcal strains have been surfacing spontaneously since 2011, and since then, no new antimicrobials have been approved to reliably treat gonorrhoea.

LSHTM’s Victoria Miari is evaluating antimicrobial compounds; some are novel compounds for the treatment of gonorrhoea, and others are existing compounds used in a new way. She has evaluated the activity of closthioamide (CTA), a new antimicrobial class, against several strains of N. gonorrhoeae. CTA was shown to be highly effective in vitro; however, it is at the early stages of development, and it could be years before it is available as a treatment. Victoria is also investigating chlorhexidine, a compound readily available within dental mouthwashes. This could be used topically as a gargle to treat pharyngeal gonorrhoea. Pharyngeal gonorrhoea is difficult to treat, and recent evaluation of new antimicrobials has shown poor pharyngeal efficacy. 

Jason Ong is also investigating the use of mouthwash for the reduction of incident pharyngeal gonorrhoeae among MSM – results from a randomized controlled trial will be published later in 2019. Meanwhile, he has a published paper on mathematical modeling showing that kissing could potentially play an important role in NG transmission among MSM. Jason has also investigated the role of screening asymptomatic MSM for gonorrhoea, documented the natural history of symptoms for MSM with urethral gonorrhoea, and examined the bacterial loads of urethral gonorrhoea for men with and without symptoms

Read more about LSHTM STI-related research on the STIRIG website.
STIRIG News and Events
Next STIRIG Seminar!
Pay-it-forward - enhancing uptake of dual gonorrhea and chlamydia testing among men who have sex with men in China by Joe Tucker on Wednesday 30th January - 1pm in LG8. This event will be live streamed.

Missed a previous STIRIG Seminar?  You can find them in the STIRIG Seminar Series page
Sexual Health journal Special Issue on gonorrhoea!
Call for papers – deadline 31st January 2019. More details at

STI & HIV 2019 World Congress, Joint Meeting of the 23rd ISSTDR & 20th IUSTI Congress 14-17 July, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada
  • Abstract Submission Deadline: EXTENDED to 1 February 2019 (23:59 PST)
  • Scholarship Application Deadline: January 25, 2019 (23:59 PST)
European Society for Microbiology and Infectious diseases (ESCMID) has extended their Mycoplasma Study Group to include chlamydia in 2019. Members of this group can (i) receive information related to this study group, (ii) increase their chlamydia network, and (iii) be eligible for opportunities linked to the ESCMID study group, such as specific grants for starter projects as well as postgraduate courses. You must be a member of ESCMID before joining the group. 
Funding opportunities
MRC Strategic Grant call for Health Systems Research in LMICs: Providing evidence to strengthen health systems in low and middle income countries. They will be funding both research and foundation grants. Projects with PIs from LMIC are strongly encouraged and all proposals must include co-investigators from the LMIC in which the research is taking place. PIs can be based in the UK or any LMIC. Deadline for applications 14th February 2019.

Call for applications for an STI PhD studentshipThe Sexually Transmitted Infections Research Foundation (STIRF) has awarded a 3-year PhD studentship at the University of York, called “HPV vaccination for preventing cervical and other HPV-associated cancers: Comparing the knowledge and understanding of factors influencing initiation and completion of the UK and Ugandan school-based vaccination programme”. Deadline for applications 14th March 2019.

The MRC have just posted a pre-call announcement: UKRI GCRF Health and Context call 2019. Via the GCRF, UKRI will support impactful, three-year research projects up to a value of approximately £2 million. Multidisciplinary approaches combining biomedical, social, and environmental science, and the arts and humanities are encouraged. Closing date for applications is 2 April 2019.
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
Associations between sex work laws and sex workers' health: A systematic review and meta-analysis of quantitative and qualitative studies.
Platt L, Grenfell P, Meiksin R, Elmes J, Sherman SG, Sanders T, Mwangi P, Crago AL. PLoS Med. 2018 Dec 11;15(12):e1002680. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1002680.
Sex workers who had been exposed to repressive policing practices were on average at increased risk of infection with HIV/STI compared to those who had not, across 12,506 participants from 11 studies. Repressive policing of sex workers was associated with increased risk of condomless sex across 9,447 participants from 4 studies. (From the Author Summary).

Antimicrobial Consumption and Susceptibility of Neisseria gonorrhoeae: A Global Ecological Analysis.
Kenyon C, Buyze J, Wi T. Front Med (Lausanne). 2018 Nov 27;5:329. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2018.00329. eCollection 2018.
The authors used susceptibility data from the WHOs Global Gonococcal Antimicrobial Surveillance Programme (GASP) and antimicrobial consumption data from the IMS Health MIDAS database to assess an ecological association between antimicrobial consumption and the prevalence of antimicrobial resistance for Neisseria gonorrhoeae

Establishment of a gonococcal antimicrobial surveillance programme (GASP), in accordance with WHO standards, in Côte d'Ivoire, Western Africa, 2014-2017.
Yéo A1, Kouamé-Blavo B1, Kouamé CE, Ouattara A1, Yao AC1, Gbedé BD1, Bazan F1, Faye-Ketté H1, Dosso M, Wi T2, Unemo M3. Sex Transm Dis. 2018 Nov 19. doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000943. [Epub ahead of print]
Quality-assured gonococcal AMR data have been extremely limited in the majority of African countries, and completely lacking in West Africa. The present study describes the establishment of a national GASP in Côte d’Ivoire
LSHTM STI-related Publications
Publications deposited to LSHTM Research Online between 27 11 18 - 24 01 18
Francis, Suzanna C; Holm Hansen, Christian; Irani, Julia; Andreasen, Aura; Baisley, Kathy; Jespers, Vicky; Crucitti, Tania; Changalucha, John;Hayes, Richard J; Nnko, Soori; +2 more... (2018) Results from a cross-sectional sexual and reproductive health study among school girls in Tanzania: high prevalence of bacterial vaginosis. Sexually transmitted infections. ISSN 1368-4973 DOI:

Ahmad, L; Mostowy, S; Sancho-Shimizu, V; (2018) Autophagy-virus interplay: From cell biology to human disease. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, 6. p. 155. DOI:

Murray, Macey L; Meadows, Jade; Doré, Caroline J; Copas, Andrew J; Haddow, Lewis J; Lacey, Charles; Jit, Mark; Soldan, Kate; Bennett, Kate; Tetlow, Michelle; +2 more... (2018) Human papillomavirus infection: protocol for a randomised controlled trial of imiquimod cream (5%) versus podophyllotoxin cream (0.15%), in combination with quadrivalent human papillomavirus or control vaccination in the treatment and prevention of recurrence of anogenital warts (HIPvac trial). BMC medical research methodology, 18 (1). p. 125. ISSN 1471-2288 DOI:

Wu D, Li KT, Tang W, Ong JJ, Huang W, Fu H, Lee A, Wei C, Tucker JD.Low chlamydia and gonorrhea testing rates among men who have sex with men in Guangdong and Shandong Provinces, China. Sex Transm Dis. 2018 Dec 7. doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000963.

Li KT, Tang W, Wu D, Huang W, Wu F, Lee A, Feng H, Pan SW, Han L, Mak V, Yang L, Tucker JD. Pay-it-forward strategy to enhance uptake of dual gonorrhea and chlamydia testing among men who have sex with men in China: a pragmatic, quasi-experimental study. Lancet Infect Dis. 2019 Jan;19(1):76-82. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(18)30556-5.

Yang LG, Zhang XH, Zhao PZ, Chen ZY, Ke WJ, Ren XQ, Wang LY, Chen WY, Tucker JD.Gonorrhea and chlamydia prevalence in different anatomical sites among men who have sex with men: a cross-sectional study in Guangzhou, China. BMC Infect Dis. 2018 Dec 18;18(1):675. doi: 10.1186/s12879-018-3579-6.

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