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Accurate diagnosis, treatment and prevention of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) should be priorities for health systems around the world. Untreated or undertreated STIs can lead to infertility, cancer, chronic pelvic pain, and facilitate HIV transmission.1 New and existing treatments, tests and prevention strategies therefore need to be rigorously evaluated to assess their benefits and harms as this information is important for clinical decision-making and policy and guideline development. This editorial introduces the new Sexually Transmitted Infections Cochrane Review (STICR) group, which aims to support authors in summarising evidence about interventions and diagnostic tests used for genital tract infections.
The Cochrane Collaboration focuses on developing and maintaining systematic reviews of healthcare interventions to allow well-informed decisions about healthcare.2 A systematic review is an assessment and evaluation of all research studies that examine a particular clinical problem,3 using explicit, pre-stated methods that reduce bias, thus providing more reliable findings from which conclusions can be drawn and decisions made.4 The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews forms the main part of the Cochrane Library, and has over 5000 reviews. According to Journal Citation Reports its impact factor for 2012 was 5.78,5 and more than 50% of the world has free access to the Cochrane Library.6
The STICR group is one of 52 groups of the Cochrane Collaboration. Its …