Evaluation of syndromic management of sexually transmitted infections within the Kisumu Incidence Cohort Study

Int J STD AIDS. 2014 Oct;25(12):851-9. doi: 10.1177/0956462414523260. Epub 2014 Feb 10.


While laboratory aetiological diagnosis is considered the gold standard for diagnosis and management of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), syndromic management has been presented as a simplified and affordable approach for STI management in limited resource settings. STI signs and symptoms were collected using staff-administered computer-assisted personal interview and audio computer-assisted self-interview. Participants underwent a medical examination and laboratory testing for common STIs. The performance of syndromic management was assessed on the agreement between interviewing methods as well as accurate diagnosis. We screened 846 participants, of whom 88 (10.4%) received syndromic STI diagnosis while 272 (32.2%) received an aetiological diagnosis. Agreement between syndromic and aetiological diagnoses was very poor (overall kappa = 0.09). The most prevalent STI was herpes simplex virus type 2 and the percentage of persons with any STI was higher among women (48.6%) than men (15.6%, p < 0.0001). Agreement between audio computer-assisted self-interview and computer-assisted personal interview interviewing methods for syndromic diagnosis of STIs ranged from poor to good. Our findings suggest that syndromic management of STIs is not a sufficient tool for STI diagnosis in this setting; development and improvement of STI diagnostic capabilities through laboratory confirmation is needed in resource-limited settings.

Keywords: Kenya; Kisumu; STIs; diagnosis; sexually transmitted infection; syndromic management.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Disease Management
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Interviews as Topic / methods*
  • Kenya / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Physical Examination
  • Prevalence
  • Self Care
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / etiology*
  • Socioeconomic Factors