Previous community-randomised trials of interventions to control sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have involved rural settings, were rarely multicomponent, and had varying results. We aimed to assess the effect of a multicomponent intervention on curable STIs in urban young adults and female sex workers (FSWs).
In this community-randomised trial, baseline STI screening was done between August, and November, 2002, in random household samples of young adults (aged 18–29 years) and in FSWs in Peruvian cities with more than 50 000 inhabitants. Geographically separate cities were selected, matched into pairs, and randomly allocated to intervention or control groups with an S-PLUS program. Follow-up surveys of random samples were done after 2 years and 3 years. The intervention comprised four modalities: strengthened STI syndromic management by pharmacy workers and clinicians; mobile-team outreach to FSWs for STI screening and pathogen-specific treatment; periodic presumptive treatment of FSWs for trichomoniasis; and condom promotion for FSWs and the general population. Individuals in control cities received standard care. The composite primary endpoint was infection of young adults with Chlamydia trachomatis, Trichomonas vaginalis, or Neisseria gonorrhoeae, or syphilis seroreactivity. Laboratory workers and the data analyst were masked, but fieldworkers, the Peruvian study team, and participants in the outcome surveys were not. All analyses were done by intention to treat. This trial is registered, ISRCTN43722548.
We did baseline surveys of 15 261 young adults in 24 Peruvian cities. Of those, 20 geographically separate cities were matched into pairs, in each of which one city was assigned to intervention and the other to standard of care. In the 2006 follow-up survey, data for the composite primary outcome were available for 12 930 young adults. We report a non-significant reduction in prevalence of STIs in young adults, adjusted for baseline prevalence, in intervention cities compared with control cities (relative risk 0·84, 95% CI 0·69–1·02; p=0·096). In subgroup analyses, significant reductions were noted in intervention cities in young adult women and FSWs.
Syndromic management of STIs, mobile-team outreach to FSWs, presumptive treatment for trichomoniasis in FSWs, and condom promotion might reduce the composite prevalence of any of the four curable STIs investigated in this trial.
Wellcome Trust and Burroughs Wellcome Fund, National Institutes of Health, Center for AIDS Research, CIPRA, and USAID-Peru.