Publications

There is an urgent need in sub-Saharan Africa to develop more effective methods of HIV prevention, including improved strategies of sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention or an HIV vaccine. The efficacy of these strategies may be tested through clinical trials within cohorts at high risk for STI and HIV, such as female commercial sex workers. For ethical reasons, standard HIV prevention services, including access to free condoms, risk-reduction counseling, and STI therapy, will generally be offered to all study subjects.

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After discussing advantages and risks, only a third of the 290 HIV-infected women included in an intervention study to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Mombasa, Kenya, informed their partners of their results. Despite careful counselling, 10% subsequently experienced violence or disruption of their relationship. To increase the uptake of interventions to reduce perinatal HIV transmission safely, we recommend the involvement of partners in HIV testing. In addition, the counselling of women has to address methods and skills to deal with violence

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BACKGROUND: Health-seeking and sexual behaviors are important elements in the control of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). GOAL: To examine patterns of health-seeking behavior and related sexual behavior relevant to improved prevention and care among patients attending primary healthcare (PHC) clinics. STUDY DESIGN: A questionnaire covering social, demographic, and healthcare-seeking and sexual behavior information was administered to 555 patients attending three primary healthcare clinics in low socioeconomic areas of Nairobi, Kenya.

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OBJECTIVES: To determine the effect of the HIV epidemic on invasive cervical cancer in Kenya. METHODS: Of the 3902 women who were diagnosed with reproductive tract malignancies at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) from 1989 to 1998, 85% had invasive cervical cancer. Age at presentation and severity of cervical cancer were studied for a 9-year period when national HIV prevalence went from 5% to 5-10%, to 10-15%. RESULTS: There was no significant change in either age at presentation or severity of cervical cancer. Of the 118 (5%) women who were tested for HIV, 36 (31%) were seropositive.

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Dr. Karoline Fonck defended her PhD thesis in 2002, entitled: STI prevention and control, Sexually transmitted infections in Nairobi, Kenya: clinical, epidemiological and public health aspects.

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OBJECTIVE: To assess the association between vaginal douching and sexually transmitted infections (STI) among a group of female sex workers (FSWs) in Nairobi, Kenya. METHODS: This study was part of a randomised, placebo controlled trial of monthly prophylaxis with 1 g of azithromycin to prevent STIs and HIV infection in a cohort of Nairobi FSWs. Consenting women were administered a questionnaire and screened for STIs. RESULTS: The seroprevalence of HIV-1 among 543 FSWs screened was 30%.

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BACKGROUND: Sexual and health-seeking behaviors are important components of sexually transmitted disease (STD) control. GOALS: To generate data for improved STD prevention and care, and to assess sexual behavior and relevant health-seeking behavior. STUDY DESIGN: A questionnaire to elicit social, demographic, healthcare-seeking, and sexual behavior information was administered to 471 patients attending the referral clinic for STDs in Nairobi, Kenya. RESULTS: A large proportion of the patients had sought treatment in public and private sectors before attending the clinic for STDs.

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The study assessed the value of currently-available data on the rates of caesarean section as an indicator of safe-motherhood programmes. Data, collected through the routine health information system of the Ministry of Health, Kenya, were used for analyzing the available process indicators. The methodology of this study illustrates both usefulness and limitations of readily-available healthcare information. The rate of hospital-based caesarean section was 6.3% of all births (range 0.3-37%), whereas the rate of population-based caesarean section was 0.95% (range 0.1%-4%).

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OBJECTIVES: This study sought to assess the performance, effectiveness, and costs of a decentralized antenatal syphilis screening program in Nairobi, Kenya. METHODS: Health clinic data, quality control data, and costs were analyzed. RESULTS: The rapid plasma reagin (RPR) seroprevalence was 3.4%. In terms of screening, treatment, and partner notification, the program's performance was adequate. The program's effectiveness was problematic because of false-negative and false-positive RPR results. The cost per averted case was calculated to be US$95 to US$112.

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SETTING: Nairobi City Council Chest Clinic, Nairobi, Kenya. OBJECTIVE: To determine if under-reading of sputum smears is a contributing factor in the disproportionate increase in smear-negative tuberculosis in Nairobi, Kenya. METHODOLOGY: Between October 1997 and November 1998, patients fulfilling the local programme definition of smear-negative presumed pulmonary tuberculosis were enrolled in the study. Two further sputum specimens were collected for examination in a research laboratory by fluorescence microscopy.

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