Introduction Non-specific genital infection (NSGI; non-Chlamydia trachomatis, non-Neisseria gonorrhoeae-associated urethritis) is a common diagnosis in symptomatic heterosexual men attending UK sexual health clinics (SHCs). but little is known about the psychosocial impact of this diagnosis. Methods We conducted an observational study among symptomatic heterosexual men attending SHCs to evaluate the psychosocial impact of an NSGI diagnosis compared with a diagnosis of Chlamydia trachomatis (CT), Neisseria gonorrhoeae or no abnormalities detected focusing on the feasibility of our study methodology. Participants completed a computer-assisted self-interviewing (CASI) including two validated measures of psychosocial impact: the EQ-5D-5L health-related quality of life and Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, before diagnostic testing and 2 weeks after receiving test results (follow-up 1 (FU-1)) and a qualitative interview. We compared scores between diagnostic groups using paired t-tests, qualitative data were analysed thematically and feasibility was assessed by process analysis. Results 60 men completed the baseline CASI (75% response rate). 46 (76.6%) were eligible for follow-up; 11/46 (23.9%) completed the follow-up CASI, and 3/11 (27.3%) completed the qualitative interview. 81.7% of all participants left CASI feedback at baseline: 73.5% reported the questionnaire as 'fine' or 'very good'. Qualitative interview participants reported the study was acceptable. Compared with baseline, among patients completing FU-1, only patients with a diagnosis of NSGI (p<0.05) or CT (p<0.05) showed increased EQ-5D-5L Index, whereas patients with a diagnosis of NSGI (p=0.05) showed decreased mean Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale score. Conclusions Although most participants indicated study acceptability at baseline, and we employed measures to increase retention (CASI questionnaires, reminder messages and a focus on men's health), we experienced high loss to follow-up. We found that heterosexual men attending SHCs with symptoms of urethritis experience both positive and negative psychosocial impacts following their clinic attendance, which warrants further investigation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding This study was funded by an Innovate UK (SBRI grant no. 971452) awarded to Atlas Genetics Ltd.
Competing interests The Applied Diagnostic Research and Evaluation Unit at St George’s, University of London (STS, EMH-E, SF and AP) receives funding from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) i4i Programme (grant number II-LB-0214-20005), Atlas Genetics, Alere, Hologic Cepheid, SpeeDx, Sekisui and Becton Dickinson to develop Point of Care Tests for STIs.
- genitourinary medicine
- genitourinary medicine
- qualitative research