Demographic, clinical and social factors associated with human immunodeficiency virus infection and other sexually transmitted diseases in a cohort of women from the United Kingdom and Ireland. MRC Collaborative Study of women with HIV.
BACKGROUND: Clinical experience suggests many women with HIV infection have experienced no other sexually transmitted diseases (STD). Our objective was to test the hypothesis that a substantial proportion of women with HIV infection in the United Kingdom and Ireland have experienced no other diagnosed STD and to describe the demographic, clinical and social factors associated with the occurrence of other STD in a cohort of HIV infected women. METHOD: Analysis of cross-sectional baseline data from a prospective study of 505 women with diagnosed HIV infection. The setting was 15 HIV treatment centres in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The main outcome measures were occurrence of other STD diagnosed for the first time before and after HIV diagnosis. Data were obtained from interview with women and clinic notes. We particularly focused on occurrence of gonorrhoea, chlamydia and trichomoniasis after HIV diagnosis, as these are the STD most likely to reflect recent unprotected sexual intercourse. RESULTS: The women were mainly infected via heterosexual sex (n = 304), and injection drug use (n = 174). 151 were black Africans. A total of 250 (49.5%) women reported never having been diagnosed with an STD apart from HIV, 255 (50.5%) women had ever experienced an STD besides HIV, including 109 (21.6%) who had their first other STD diagnosed after HIV. Twenty-five (5%) women reported having had chlamydia, gonorrhoea or trichomoniasis diagnosed for the first time after HIV diagnosis, possibly reflecting unprotected sexual intercourse since HIV diagnosis. In all 301 (60%) women reported having had sex with a man in the 6 months prior to entry to the study. Of these, 168 (58%) reported using condoms 'always', 66(23%) 'sometimes' and 56 (19%) 'never'. CONCLUSIONS: Half the women in this study reported having never experienced any other diagnosed STD besides HIV. However, after HIV diagnosis most women remain sexually active and at least 5% had an STD diagnosed which reflect unprotected sexual intercourse. (+info)
A comparison of three methods of setting prescribing budgets, using data derived from defined daily dose analyses of historic patterns of use.
BACKGROUND: Prescribing matters (particularly budget setting and research into prescribing variation between doctors) have been handicapped by the absence of credible measures of the volume of drugs prescribed. AIM: To use the defined daily dose (DDD) method to study variation in the volume and cost of drugs prescribed across the seven main British National Formulary (BNF) chapters with a view to comparing different methods of setting prescribing budgets. METHOD: Study of one year of prescribing statistics from all 129 general practices in Lothian, covering 808,059 patients: analyses of prescribing statistics for 1995 to define volume and cost/volume of prescribing for one year for 10 groups of practices defined by the age and deprivation status of their patients, for seven BNF chapters; creation of prescribing budgets for 1996 for each individual practice based on the use of target volume and cost statistics; comparison of 1996 DDD-based budgets with those set using the conventional historical approach; and comparison of DDD-based budgets with budgets set using a capitation-based formula derived from local cost/patient information. RESULTS: The volume of drugs prescribed was affected by the age structure of the practices in BNF Chapters 1 (gastrointestinal), 2 (cardiovascular), and 6 (endocrine), and by deprivation structure for BNF Chapters 3 (respiratory) and 4 (central nervous system). Costs per DDD in the major BNF chapters were largely independent of age, deprivation structure, or fundholding status. Capitation and DDD-based budgets were similar to each other, but both differed substantially from historic budgets. One practice in seven gained or lost more than 100,000 Pounds per annum using DDD or capitation budgets compared with historic budgets. The DDD-based budget, but not the capitation-based budget, can be used to set volume-specific prescribing targets. CONCLUSIONS: DDD-based and capitation-based prescribing budgets can be set using a simple explanatory model and generalizable methods. In this study, both differed substantially from historic budgets. DDD budgets could be created to accommodate new prescribing strategies and raised or lowered to reflect local intentions to alter overall prescribing volume or cost targets. We recommend that future work on setting budgets and researching prescribing variations should be based on DDD statistics. (+info)
Why do dyspeptic patients over the age of 50 consult their general practitioner? A qualitative investigation of health beliefs relating to dyspepsia.
BACKGROUND: The prognosis of late-diagnosed gastric cancer is poor, yet less than half of dyspeptic patients consult their general practitioner (GP). AIM: To construct an explanatory model of the decision to consult with dyspepsia in older patients. METHOD: A total of 75 patients over the age of 50 years who had consulted with dyspepsia at one of two inner city general practices were invited to an in-depth interview. The interviews were taped, transcribed, and analysed using the computer software NUD.IST, according to the principles of grounded theory. RESULTS: Altogether, 31 interviews were conducted. The perceived threat of cancer and the need for reassurance were key influences on the decision to consult. Cues such as a change in symptoms were important in prompting a re-evaluation of the likely cause. Personal vulnerability to serious illness was often mentioned in the context of family or friends' experience, but tempered by an individual's life expectations. CONCLUSION: Most patients who had delayed consultation put their symptoms down to 'old age' or 'spicy food'. However, a significant minority were fatalistic, suspecting the worst but fearing medical interventions. (+info)
A single-blind, placebo-controlled trial of a simple acupuncture treatment in the cessation of smoking.
BACKGROUND: Tobacco smoking is a major cause of preventable disease and premature death. Physicians should play an active role in the control of smoking by encouraging cessation and helping the smoker to choose the most suitable aid to cessation. AIM: To evaluate a simple, ear acupuncture treatment for the cessation of smoking. METHOD: Randomized, single-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 78 currently smoking volunteers from the general public. Volunteers attended an acupuncture clinic in a general practice setting and were given a single treatment of electroacupuncture using two needles at either an active or a placebo site plus self-retained ear seeds for two weeks. The major outcome measure was biochemically validated total cessation of smoking at six months. RESULTS: A total of 12.5% of the active treatment group compared with 0% of the placebo group ceased smoking at six months (P = 0.055, 95% confidence interval -0.033 to 0.323). CONCLUSION: This simple ear electroacupuncture treatment was significantly more effective in helping volunteers to quit smoking than placebo treatment. (+info)
Health at work in the general practice.
BACKGROUND: Poor mental health and high stress levels have been reported in staff working in general practice. Little is known about how practices are tackling these and other issues of health at work in the absence of an established occupational healthcare service. AIM: To establish the extent of knowledge and good practice of health at work policies for staff working in general practice. METHOD: Practice managers in 450 randomly selected general practices in England were interviewed by telephone, and the general practitioner (GP) with lead responsibility for workplace health in the same practice was surveyed by postal questionnaire. We surveyed the existence and implementation of practice policies, causes and effects of stress on practice staff, and agreement between practice managers and GPs on these issues. RESULTS: Seventy-one per cent of GPs and 76% of practice managers responded, with at least one reply from 408 (91%) practices and responses from both the practice manager and GPs from 252 (56%) practices. Seventy-nine per cent of practices had a policy on monitoring risks and hazards. The proportion of practices with other workplace health policies ranged from 21% (policy to minimize stress) to 91% (policy on staff smoking). There was a tendency for practices to have policies but not to implement them. The three causes of stress for practice staff most commonly cites by both GP and practice manager responders were 'patient demands', 'too much work', and 'patient abuse/aggression'. Sixty-five per cent of GPs felt that stress had caused mistakes in their practices. Although there was general agreement between the two groups, there was a considerable lack of agreement between responders working in the same practices. CONCLUSIONS: The study revealed substantial neglect of workplace health issues with many practices falling foul of health and safety legislation. This report should help general practices identify issues to tackle to improve their workplace health, and the Health at Work in the NHS project to focus on areas where their targeted help will be most worthwhile. (+info)
Screening for cervical cancer: a review of women's attitudes, knowledge, and behaviour.
The United Kingdom (UK) cervical screening programme has been successful in securing participation of a high proportion of targeted women, and has seen a fall in mortality rates of those suffering from cervical cancer. There remains, however, a significant proportion of unscreened women and, of women in whom an abnormality is detected, many will not attend for colposcopy. The present work reviews the psychological consequences of receiving an abnormal cervical smear result and of secondary screening and treatment, and examines reasons for women's non-participation in the screening programme. Psychological theories of screening behavior are used to elucidate women's reactions and to suggest methods of increasing participation, of improving the quality of the service, and of reducing women's anxiety. A literature search identified studies that examine factors influencing women's participation in the screening programme, their psychological reaction to the receipt of an abnormal cervical smear result, and experiences of colposcopy. Reasons for non-participation include administrative failures, unavailability of a female screener, inconvenient clinic times, lack of awareness of the test's indications and benefits, considering oneself not to be at risk of developing cervical cancer, and fear of embarrassment, pain, or the detection of cancer. The receipt of an abnormal result and referral for colposcopy cause high levels of distress owing to limited understanding of the meaning of the smear test; many women believe the test aims to detect existing cervical cancer. The quality of the cervical screening service can be enhanced by the provision of additional information, by improved quality of communication, and by consideration of women's health beliefs. This may result in increased participation in, and satisfaction with, the service. (+info)
SWORD '97: surveillance of work-related and occupational respiratory disease in the UK.
SWORD is one of seven clinically based reporting schemes which together now provide almost comprehensive coverage of occupational diseases across the UK. Although SWORD is now in its tenth year, participation rates remain high. Of an estimated 3,903 new cases seen this year, 1,031 (26%) were of occupational asthma, 978 (25%) of mesothelioma, 794 (20%) of non-malignant pleural disease, 336 (9%) of pneumoconiosis and 233 (6%) of inhalation accidents. Incidence rates of occupational asthma were generally highest among workers in the manufacture of wood products, textiles and food (particularly grain products and crustaceans) and additionally, in the production of precious and non-ferrous metals, rubber goods, detergents and perfumes, and in mining. Health care workers were noted to have a surprisingly high incidence of inhalation accidents. Occupational asthma attributed to latex has increased dramatically; the highest rates are among laboratory technicians, shoe workers and health care workers. (+info)