Enhanced syphilis screening among HIV-positive men (ESSAHM): a study protocol for a clinic-randomized trial with stepped wedge design

Title: Enhanced syphilis screening among HIV-positive men (ESSAHM): a study protocol for a clinic-randomized trial with stepped wedge design
Authors: Burchell, Ann N
Allen, Vanessa G
Grewal, Ramandip
MacPherson, Paul A
Rachlis, Anita
Walmsley, Sharon
Mishra, Sharmistha
Gardner, Sandra L
Raboud, Janet
Cooper, Curtis
Gough, Kevin
Rourke, Sean B
Rousseau, Rodney
Salit, Irving
Tan, Darrell H S
Date: 2016-01-16
Abstract: Abstract Background The current syphilis epidemic among urban men who have sex with men (MSM) has serious implications for those co-infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Routine and frequent syphilis screening has the potential to ensure early detection and treatment, minimize disease burden, and help control the ongoing spread of syphilis and HIV. We aim to enhance syphilis screening among HIV-positive men by conducting a clinic-based intervention that incorporates opt-out syphilis testing into routine HIV laboratory evaluation for this population. Trial objectives are to determine the degree to which the intervention (1) increases the detection rate of untreated syphilis, (2) increases screening coverage, (3) increases screening frequency, and (4) reaches men at highest risk according to sexual behaviors. Methods/design The trial is a pragmatic, stepped wedge cluster-randomized controlled trial that introduces the intervention stepwise across four urban HIV clinics in Ontario, Canada. The intervention includes standing orders for syphilis serological testing whenever a male in HIV care undergoes HIV viral load testing, which typically occurs every 3–6 months. The control condition is the maintenance of current, provider-initiated syphilis testing practice. Approximately 3100 HIV-positive men will be followed over 30 months. Test results will be obtained from the centralized provincial laboratory in Ontario and will be supplemented by a standardized clinical worksheet and medical chart review at the clinics. Detailed clinical, psychosocial, and behavioral data is available for a subset of men receiving HIV care who are also participants of the province-wide Ontario HIV Treatment Network Cohort Study. Process evaluation plans include audit and feedback of compliance of the participating centers to identify potential barriers to the introduction of this type of practice into routine care. Health economic components include evaluation of the impact and cost-effectiveness of the intervention. Discussion This trial will be the first of its kind in Canada and will provide evidence regarding the feasibility, clinical effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of a clinic-based intervention to improve syphilis screening among HIV-positive men. Involvement of knowledge users in all stages of trial design, conduct, and analysis will facilitate scale-up should the intervention be effective. Trial Registration ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02019043
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13012-016-0371-0
CollectionLibre accès - Publications // Open Access - Publications