Does the sexually transmitted infections foundation course deliver and change practice? Feedback from delegates 2002–2006

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Attendees at Newcastle sexually transmitted infections foundation (STIF) courses since 2002 were sent a postal questionnaire to ascertain views about the course, its effect on practice and the desire for further education. Totally 156 forms were returned (48% response). The majority 97% were satisfied with the course, 97% wanted updates, 57% annually and 33% biennially. Following a STIF course, 69% provided HIV testing (only 14% of those, prior to attendance). However, only 39% routinely offered HIV testing and only 34% routinely offered syphilis testing to patients whom they considered to be at risk of a sexually transmitted infection. Common reasons for not offering testing were lack of time for counselling, lack of confidence, no perceived need or anonymity concerns resulting in referral to genitourinary medicine. This was despite training, which encourages routine HIV testing with a pretest discussion rather than ‘counselling’ and education about recent outbreaks of syphilis.

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