Tulane Epidemiologist Finds Current STD Treatment Inadequate

January 17, 2019
by John Kelly, MD
Tulane Epidemiologist Finds Current STD Treatment Inadequate

A Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine infectious disease epidemiologist carried out a new study that may change how doctors treat a common STD.

Professor Patricia Kissinger along with a team of researchers discovered a single medication dose was not enough to get rid of trichomoniasis, which can lead to major birth complications and lead to an increase in HIV susceptibility.

There are about 143 million new trichomoniasis cases each year, with most women not even aware that they have it because they have no symptoms. A single dose of tinidazole or metronidazole antibiotics has been recommended as the treatment for over 30 years.

Researchers asked assistance from over 600 women to take part in a random trial, with half the women given a single dose of metronidazole while the other half got treatment over the course of seven days.

According to Kissinger, the women with multiple doses were half as likely to be infected with the disease compared to the women who took the one dose. She said the study shows that many women are not getting the right treatment for the diseases, and haven’t for decades.

This common sexually transmitted disease can cause pregnant women to go into preterm labor, and their babies could have a low birth weight. The parasite also raises the chance of being infected with HIV.

Kissinger suspects the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will use the trial results to make changes to its treatment recommendations. She said evidence-based interventions are necessary to better public health. Kissinger said just because something has been done a certain way a long time doesn’t mean it’s the right way to do something. She said she hopes new recommendations are enacted to ensure women attain the right treatment for the STD.


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