Symposium 5-3 ‘Strangers in the Night; Challenges and Opportunities in STI Control: provided a fascinating insight into potential opportunities and strategies for STI control. There was so much interesting and important information in the two hours of the session that I encourage to take the time to watch the whole webcast of this session.
R. Scott McClelland presented on the ‘Vaginal Microbiome and Susceptibility to HIV’ addressing the dynamic changes in the vaginal microbiome and the conditions, eg Bacterial Vaginosis, that can lead to morbidity and increased risk for HIV entry. Jean-Michel gave a historical overview of the outcomes and opportunities for ‘Antibiotic Prophylaxis for STIs: Promises or Perils’ – you are left feeling that the risk of antibiotic resistance (eg as has occurred with gonorrhoea) is far too great for future intervention with prophylactic antibiotics for STIs.
Matthew Golden outlined the experience in USA (and Australia) in relation to the increasing rates of STIs in ‘Syphilis in the Era of Treatment as Prevention and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis’. He addressed the various changes in sexual behaviour eg serosorting, rates of condom use and sex in the era of PrEP and warned that we must address the increased rate of STIs, particularly syphilis in MSM, with renewed vigilance. Lastly, Rebecca Guy from the Kirby Institute addressed the challenges of the ‘Scale up-of Point-of Care Tests for Sexually Transmissable Infections’ addressing the sensitivity of available tests, and their appropriate use. Rebecca outlined the Kirby Institute’s projects in antenatal clinics in PNG and with community sexual health workers in remote Australia. The implementation of POC tests with the aim of treatment on the same day, by staff in those settings was outlined.