Introduction The role of Sexual Health Services (SHS) is not only to treat sexually transmitted infections (STIs) but also to reduce repeat infection through appropriate antimicrobials, health education and partner notification (PN). We reviewed the management of patients with repeat infections.
Methods A retrospective case-note review of patients attending the SHS with more than one episode of chlamydia and/or gonorrhoea, July 2015 – June 2016.
Results 156 patients were identified of which a random sample of 30 (20%) were reviewed. All were male; median age 29.5 (range 21-58). 70% (21) were MSM, 23% (7) heterosexual, 7% (2) bisexual. 30% (9) were HIV positive. Risk-factors for unsafe sex (e.g. substance misuse/sex-work/mental-health diagnosis) were noted in 77% (23). 77% (23) had 2 infective episodes; 23% (7) had 3 episodes. Of the 67 infective episodes all were treated appropriately; 40% (27) were treated the same day, 9% (6) within 1-week, 24% (16) within 2-weeks, and 22% (15) within 2–4 weeks. Patients reported 1–100 partners in the 6-months prior to review. 73% (48) saw a health advisor (HA); in the remaining 28% the most common reason for not seeing a HA was being managed in non-sexual health clinics e.g. PEP/HIV-research/general HIV. PN was undertaken in 82% (55) of episodes although only completed in 52% (35) largely due to untraceable partners.
Discussion Focusing on addressing risk factors for unsafe sex may facilitate a reduction in repeat STIs. While most patients were able to access HA support, referral pathways from non-SHS clinics need improving. PN remains challenging in the context of multiple casual partners and novel strategies such as electronic PN should be urgently explored.
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