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Apps may be helpful in reducing STI rates

The research was just one of many interesting papers delivered at the recent RCPI Faculty of Public Health Medicine Winter Scientific Meeting.

A paper focused on STI acquisition was delivered by Dr Lois O’Connor of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) and looked into factors associated with acquisition of STIs in men who have sex with men (MSM) in Ireland.

“Behavioural and sexual factors are associated with STI acquisition in the MSM population studied,” found the research.

“To reduce the risk of STI acquisition, we recommend condom use and that STI prevention information is included on commonly-used smartphone apps.”

A research poster presented at the meeting also confirmed that “alcohol-related presentations are a significant burden on EDs [emergency departments] and ambulance services, especially on Saturday nights/Sunday mornings,” in Ireland.

The poster was presented by Ms Deirdre Goggin, Dr Brian McNicholl and Dr Diarmuid O’Donovan.

“We looked at alcohol-related presentations in 28 of the 30 24-hour EDs in Ireland to measure the scale of the problem and to suggest improvements in the quality of data collection and patient care,” according to the poster.

“Contact persons reviewed the records of everyone who presented over the same four six-hour periods on four different dates representing busy and quiet periods and recorded demographic information, method of admission, time spent in ED and ICD-10 code for alcohol-related presentations.

“The total number of presentations was 2,952: 175 (5.9 per cent) were alcohol related, range 101 (28.9 per cent) on Saturday night/Sunday morning to 11 (1.3 per cent) on Monday morning.

“Of the alcohol-related presentations, 103 (58.9 per cent) were brought by ambulance.”

In conclusion, the research found that “addressing the alcohol-related burden of alcohol on EDs requires improvements in data collection and information systems and the development of appropriate interventions and related referral services”.

Another paper delivered by Ms Brigid Quirke, University College Dublin, compared health experiences from the Canadian Inuit community and the All-Ireland Traveller Health Study and found remarkable similarities between the two populations.

“There are striking similarities in health and wellbeing outcomes between the Inuit and the Irish Traveller populations and there is a need to address the institutional and social determinants that drive these health gaps and implement appropriate policies,” found the research.

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