Mixed evidence shows some impact of mass media campaigns promoting tobacco control, physical activity and sexual health
Mass media campaigns have demonstrated effectiveness for promoting tobacco control, physical activity and sexual health. Most of the evidence relates to improving awareness of health risks or the availability of services. However, for those aimed at the risks associated with sedentary lifestyles, smoking or sexual behaviours, there are signs that the campaigns also achieved positive changes to the target behaviour.
This large review, funded by NIHR, identified 36 systematic reviews and individu...
Antiretroviral treatment can reduce the risk of HIV transmission between male partners to ‘zero’
The risk of transmission of HIV between gay couples when the HIV-positive partner is taking antiretroviral treatment that successfully suppresses the viral load is ‘effectively zero.’
A study of men from 14 European countries, including the UK, found no cases of transmission of HIV from an HIV-positive partner taking antiretroviral therapy to an HIV-negative partner, as long as the viral load of the HIV-positive partner remained undetectable or very low.
The study recorded an avera...
Self-testing kits increase overall HIV testing uptake in men who have sex with men
Frequency of HIV testing in men who have sex with men may be increased by one additional test in a six month period when self-testing kits are used. Self-testing kits allow people to collect their finger-prick or saliva sample, perform the test and interpret the result themselves.
This global study found that first-time testers made up around a tenth of all self-testers in high-income countries such as the US or UK, but about a third of those in resource-limited countries. About a third of self...
Starting antiretroviral therapy immediately after HIV diagnosis reduces transmission of the virus
Giving antiretroviral therapy to people newly diagnosed with HIV may be an effective and cost-effective way of reducing new infections. Increased HIV testing in at-risk populations may identify more people for treatment and also reduce infection rates.
Using data from a number of sources including NIHR funded projects, researchers developed a computer simulation model. The model looked at the relationship between HIV infections, sexual risk behaviours and antiretroviral therapy over a 30 year p...
Teaching sexual health at school improved knowledge but not safe sex practices
School-based sexual health interventions improved knowledge and attitudes in school students up to 18. However, they failed to consistently improve safe sex practices or reduce unwanted pregnancies. Abstinence-based messages were least effective.
This review of reviews included 37 systematic reviews of school-based sexual health interventions. It excluded low-quality reviews and spanned 1990 to 2016, so is likely to reflect the best evidence available on the topic.
Intervention types included ...
Men find self-testing acceptable to test for sexually transmitted infections
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are common and treatable but men are more reluctant than women to have a test. Self-testing is known to be accurate, but can men use this more?
Most men aged 18-35 would be willing to collect and send off a urine sample using a kit to test for STIs, according to a national survey. GP surgeries were the most popular place to collect kits, followed by pharmacies and sexual health clinics.
Other venues might be useful extra places to distribute testing kits ...
Young people often have negative views of sex and relationship education
Sex and relationship education in schools is intended to safeguard children from harmful relationships and promote sexual health. This review of 55 qualitative studies, mainly from the UK, suggests the classes do neither and may be failing to prepare, protect or engage young people.
Most studies covered secondary school sex and relationship education for pupils aged 12 to 18. Many pupils felt that classes were wrongly taught like other subjects and by their usual teachers, making them feel emba...
Video or Facebook pages describing normality seem to reduce sexually transmitted infections in youth
Brief interventions of up to 30 mins that focus on what is normal healthy behaviour and include video or new media, may help reduce sexually transmitted infections in youth under 25. The rates of infections such as HIV and chlamydia fell in some examples. The uptake of testing improved and self-reported risky behaviour reduced in this review of programmes for young people. Another analysis looked at similar short counselling interventions for men who have sex with men.
Effective interventions t...
A commonly used surface treatment is the most suitable first-line treatment for genital warts
Podophyllotoxin 0.5% solution followed by carbon dioxide laser therapy only if unsuccessful may be the best treatment approach for anal and genital warts. Either of these treatments can successfully clear warts in over three quarters of people.
The podophyllotoxin 0.5% solution can be applied to the warts twice a day for three days at home. Further courses can be applied if necessary after a break of four days. Alternatively, carbon dioxide laser therapy is performed under local or general anae...
Single therapy an option for adults with suppressed HIV
For adults with HIV who have achieved a low level of the HIV virus after initial treatment, further treatment with a protease inhibitor alone instead of standard triple drug therapy does not reduce future drug options. It is also cost-effective for long-term management of HIV.
In this large NIHR funded trial, switching to single therapy after the virus level is suppressed did not lead to treatment resistance compared to triple therapy, as earlier evidence had suggested. A return to detectable l...