USPSTF: Behavioral Counseling to Prevent STIs
(HealthDay News) — The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends intensive behavioral counseling for all sexually active adolescents and adults at increased risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). In a second recommendation, the Task Force also advises chlamydia and gonorrhea screening for women at risk of infection.
Elizabeth O'Connor, PhD, from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, OR, and colleagues examined the benefits and harms of intensive behavioral counseling of all sexually active adolescents and adults at increased risk for STIs. The researchers found that intensive behavioral counseling interventions reduced the likelihood of STIs, with the benefit being of moderate magnitude. Adequate evidence was found for harms of behavioral intervention being small at most, with the primary harm being the opportunity cost associated with interventions.
Heidi D. Nelson, MD, MPH, from the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, and colleagues examined the benefits and harms of screening for chlamydia and gonorrhea. Based on convincing evidence, the researchers found that screening tests can accurately detect chlamydia and gonorrhea. Screening reduces complications of infection for younger women and those with increased risk of infection, with moderate magnitude of benefit. For men, evidence that screening reduces complications of infection and transmission or acquisition of either disease or HIV was inadequate. The harms of screening were considered small to none.
These findings form the basis of two draft recommendation statements, which are available for comment from April 29 to May 26, 2014.