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College of Medicine M-3 student Ruth Strakosha hopes her research project will educate patients about self-collected methods of testing for sexually transmitted infections.
Ruth presented her findings to the 38th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Chicago in August. Her mentor is Dr. Lori Boardman, assistant dean of medical education and professor of obstetrics and gynecology.
“By educating women that new methods of testing can yield correct results on self-collected samples, we can use clinical time to better counsel women about their risks rather than using the time to collect samples that the patient can do herself,” Ruth said.
“Also, I hope that these new methods provide a new way of reaching women who do not have access to regular gynecologic care.”
Propelled by an interest in infectious diseases, Ruth worked with Dr. Boardman on the project, titled “STI Screening Among University Students: Preferences for Self-Collected or Clinician-Collected Specimens.”
The study was conducted at UCF Health Services and focused on screening methods for Neisseria gonorrhea and Chlamydia trachomatis. A total of 121 women under the age of 25 completed a questionnaire about preferences either for self-collection of specimens through vaginal swabs or urine samples, or the traditional method of clinician-collected specimens.
“Approximately 60 percent of women surveyed preferred self-collection of specimens to be tested,” Ruth said. Of those, 48 percent preferred the self-collection to be performed in a clinical setting.
Women who had a history of STIs or who had a higher number of sexual partners preferred provider collection, Ruth said. The reason for this isn’t clear, she said, but it could mean these women want a doctor-patient relationship or simply need to be educated about newer methods of self-collection.
Ruth said Dr. Jane Gibson, professor of pathology, was involved in the validation of the CT/NG testing method as well as testing of cytology samples collected. Dr. David Nickerson, professor of statistics, was instrumental in conducting the statistical analysis of data.