Belgium gets an online tool for diagnosing and monitoring STIs
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Belgium gets an online tool for diagnosing and monitoring STIs

This tool is expected to guide GP's in consultations connected to their patients' sexual health. Credit: Iwannaknow

The Federal Centre of Health Care Expertise (KCE) has developed an on-line tool for the diagnosing, treating and monitoring of gonorrhoea, syphilis, chlamydia, HIV and hepatitis A, B and C, it announced on Tuesday.

This tool is expected to guide GP’s in consultations connected to their patients’ sexual health.

Belgium has seen a rapid increase in the number of sexually transmissible infections (STIs), mostly in chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis. Additionally, as resistance to antibiotics is itself on the increase, these illnesses are becoming increasingly difficult to treat.

At the beginning of the year, the KCE published the first Belgian guide to clinical practice concerning the diagnosis and treatment of gonorrhoea and syphilis. At the same time, another guide was written on chlamydia. The interactive tool that is now online contains information from both guidelines.

The aim is also to offer guidance in the diagnosis and referral of people infected with HIV and hepatitis A, B or C to the appropriate specialist.

“The interactive tool enables the doctor to cater for a patient’s specific profile; it offers them some standard phrases with which to approach this delicate subject, helps them to identify the samples necessary to diagnose the various infections, then choose the proper treatment based on scientific data from the new guidelines. It then indicates what referral to propose to the patient and provides advice and tools (sample letters) to alert the partner(s),” the KCE explained.

Finally, it gathers together all the practical information required for the obligatory notification of illnesses as well as numerous links to web-based specialised information resources.

The tool is available in French, Dutch and English; a German version will be added at the beginning of 2020. It is available free of charge online.

The Brussels Times