Dr Chido Dziva Chikwari is an epidemiologist with experience developing, coordinating, and evaluating implementation research studies with particular focus on projects evaluating the provision of sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents and young people in facility and community-based settings, HIV testing interventions as well as community based psychosocial support for children and adolescents living with HIV and their caregivers. She is an Assistant Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine while based at The Health Research Unit (THRU Zim) at the Biomedical Research and Training Institute in Zimbabwe.
Effective STI control is a key priority in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), where syndromic management is currently the standard of care. Most STIs are asymptomatic and although nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) are the gold standard for laboratory based STI screening and testing, these tests are expensive, require experienced laboratory staff and specialized equipment and patients are often required to return to the clinic for their results. Newer STI diagnostics, including those that are near point of care, integrated into HIV, antenatal care, family planning or sexual and reproductive health services may provide a feasible and cost-effective solution. This talk draws from completed and ongoing STI research in Zimbabwe to provide context on implementation challenges and opportunities to improve STI management through diagnostic testing in LMIC settings. It will draw on field experiences and consultations with key stakeholders including the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health and Child Care and the WHO to inform changes in policy and programming for STI management.