Home-based versus clinic-based specimen collection in the management of Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae infections

Fajardo-Bernal, Luisa; Aponte-Gonzalez, Johanna; Vigil, Patrick; Angel-Müller, Edith; Rincon, Carlos; Gaitán, Hernando G; Low, Nicola (2015). Home-based versus clinic-based specimen collection in the management of Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae infections. Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 9(9), CD011317. WileyInterscience 10.1002/14651858.CD011317.pub2

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BACKGROUND Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) and Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG) are the most frequent causes of bacterial sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Management strategies that reduce losses in the clinical pathway from infection to cure might improve STI control and reduce complications resulting from lack of, or inadequate, treatment. OBJECTIVES To assess the effectiveness and safety of home-based specimen collection as part of the management strategy for Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae infections compared with clinic-based specimen collection in sexually-active people. SEARCH METHODS We searched the Cochrane Sexually Transmitted Infections Group Specialized Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, EMBASE and LILACS on 27 May 2015, together with the World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry (ICTRP) and ClinicalTrials.gov. We also handsearched conference proceedings, contacted trial authors and reviewed the reference lists of retrieved studies. SELECTION CRITERIA Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of home-based compared with clinic-based specimen collection in the management of C. trachomatis and N. gonorrhoeae infections. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS Three review authors independently assessed trials for inclusion, extracted data and assessed risk of bias. We contacted study authors for additional information. We resolved any disagreements through consensus. We used standard methodological procedures recommended by Cochrane. The primary outcome was index case management, defined as the number of participants tested, diagnosed and treated, if test positive. MAIN RESULTS Ten trials involving 10,479 participants were included. There was inconclusive evidence of an effect on the proportion of participants with index case management (defined as individuals tested, diagnosed and treated for CT or NG, or both) in the group with home-based (45/778, 5.8%) compared with clinic-based (51/788, 6.5%) specimen collection (risk ratio (RR) 0.88, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.60 to 1.29; 3 trials, I² = 0%, 1566 participants, moderate quality). Harms of home-based specimen collection were not evaluated in any trial. All 10 trials compared the proportions of individuals tested. The results for the proportion of participants completing testing had high heterogeneity (I² = 100%) and were not pooled. We could not combine data from individual studies looking at the number of participants tested because the proportions varied widely across the studies, ranging from 30% to 96% in home group and 6% to 97% in clinic group (low-quality evidence). The number of participants with positive test was lower in the home-based specimen collection group (240/2074, 11.6%) compared with the clinic-based group (179/967, 18.5%) (RR 0.72, 95% CI 0.61 to 0.86; 9 trials, I² = 0%, 3041 participants, moderate quality). AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS Home-based specimen collection could result in similar levels of index case management for CT or NG infection when compared with clinic-based specimen collection. Increases in the proportion of individuals tested as a result of home-based, compared with clinic-based, specimen collection are offset by a lower proportion of positive results. The harms of home-based specimen collection compared with clinic-based specimen collection have not been evaluated. Future RCTs to assess the effectiveness of home-based specimen collection should be designed to measure biological outcomes of STI case management, such as proportion of participants with negative tests for the relevant STI at follow-up.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Low, Nicola


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services








Doris Kopp Heim

Date Deposited:

07 Oct 2015 15:40

Last Modified:

29 Sep 2016 02:30

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