What we’ve done, where we are & what’s next

October 2020

With less than six months before the LUSTRUM programme draws to a close, here’s a brief update on the study’s activity over the last four and a half years.

Since April 2016, our multidisciplinary team of co-investigators have been hard at work delivering on LUSTRUM’s three streams of activity. Each stream contributes to the programme’s core aim of preventing the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and reducing undiagnosed HIV through improved partner notification (PN) strategies. Earlier this year, we successfully completed our LUSTRUM Accelerated Partner Therapy (APT) Chlamydia PN Trial. We are incredibly grateful to our committed colleagues across 17 trial sites for their support, and are pleased to report that we have now collated, cleaned, and are analysing the trial data.

We undertook a rigorous process evaluation of the APT trial, which has clarified our understanding of how APT was implemented in practice across our trial sites, and revealed useful insights for interpretation of the trial results. This evaluative process has also helped us examine the lived experiences of APT from the perspectives of healthcare professionals, index patients and their sex partners.

The programme’s second stream of activity focused entirely on the mathematical modelling of STI PN and HIV, and has helped deepen our understanding of the potential effects and impacts of improved PN, from events that empirical studies cannot observe directly.

Our final stream of work is well underway, focused on the development of PN interventions specific to men who have sex with men (MSM) for bacterial STIs and HIV. We are engaging with a range of stakeholders; healthcare professionals, MSM, digital platforms and dating app providers, to ensure the intervention is grounded by these invaluable insights. Our health economics experts are active within this work, supporting the development of an optimal PN intervention for MSM.

The LUSTRUM team are preparing to share the APT trial’s key findings over the coming months and begin dialogue about STI management, PN and the relevance of our work to COVID-19, self-sampling and contact tracing.

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