Fio Vialard’s publication in BMJ Sexually Transmitted Infections will help policymakers customize screening strategies by offering self-sampling options

Fio Vialard, an M.Sc. student in epidemiology at McGill University and trainee at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), recently published a systematic review in BMJ Sexually Transmitted Infections with promising application for chlamydia and gonorrhea screening in diagnostics. Funded by FIND, a global health non-profit based in Geneva, Switzerland, that fosters partnerships providing affordable diagnostic tests for diseases in low- and middle-income countries, the review has been well received by many health agencies and provides data for their policies.

Vialard is supervised by Nitika Pant Pai, MD, PhD, a physician scientist and member of the Infectious Diseases and Immunity in Global Health Program at the RI-MUHC, where she conducts research at the Centre for Outcomes Research and Evaluation. The research team has been invited by key agencies to deliver a webinar to educate professionals about this promising self-sampling approach in the fall.

“These two common bacterial sexually transmitted infections – chlamydia and gonorrhea – still cause over 200 million infections every year,” says Vialard. “Our review offers evidence of strengths and limitations of self-sampling strategies in diverse populations and income settings. This will help policymakers implement screening strategies that can be customized to key populations and hopefully achieve global elimination in the near future.”

“Thanks to the global advances in self-testing for HIV and COVID-19, the world has become more accepting of self-testing strategies,” adds Dr. Pant Pai. “Self-sampling for common infections that communities desire adds to the repertoire of patient-preferred, patient-empowered, convenient time-saving options that stand to directly benefit patients and communities. This review offers strong evidence to support their global scale-up.”

Read the abstract: Self-sampling strategies (with/without digital innovations) in populations at risk of Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae: a systematic review and meta-analyses.