Screening for chlamydia and/or gonorrhea in primary health care: protocol for systematic review
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BACKGROUND: Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae are the most commonly reported sexually transmitted infections in Canada. Existing national guidance on screening for these infections was not based on a systematic review, and recommendations as well as implementation considerations (e.g., population groups, testing and case management) should be explicit and reflect the quality of evidence. The aim of this systematic review is to synthesize research on screening for these infections in sexually active individuals within primary care. We will also review evidence on how people weigh the relative importance of the potential outcomes from screening, rated as most important by the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care (CTFPHC) with input from patients and stakeholders. METHODS: We have developed a peer-reviewed strategy to comprehensively search MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane Library, CINAHL, and PsycINFO for English and French literature published 1996 onwards. We will also search trial registries and conference proceedings, and mine references lists. Screening, study selection, risk of bias assessments, and quality of findings across studies (for each outcome) will be independently undertaken by two reviewers with consensus for final decisions. Data extraction will be conducted by one reviewer and checked by another for accuracy and completeness. The CTFPHC and content experts will provide input for decisions on study design (i.e., when and whether to include uncontrolled studies for screening effectiveness) and for interpretation of the findings. DISCUSSION: The results section of the review will include a description of all studies, results of all analyses, including planned subgroup and sensitivity analyses, and evidence profiles and summary of findings tables incorporating assessment based on Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) methods to communicate our confidence in the estimates of effect. We will compare our findings to others and discuss limitations of the review and available literature. The findings will be used by the CTFPHC-supplemented by consultations with patients and stakeholders and from other sources on issues of feasibility, acceptability, costs/resources, and equity-to inform recommendations on screening to support primary health care providers in delivering preventive care. SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION: International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO), registration number CRD42018100733.
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