BMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7084.912 (Published 22 March 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:912

Genital molluscum contagiosum was becoming more common before the HIV epidemic and is now seen frequently in genitourinary medicine clinics. About one third of patients with genital molluscum contagiosum have other sexually transmitted diseases (Journal of Infection 1997;34:21-8), and up to one fifth of patients with symptomatic HIV infection have genital molluscum contagiosum. Presence of molluscum contagiosum should heighten suspicion of HIV.

Minerva likes studies with long follow ups, so she read with interest a report from Finland (American Journal of Gastroenterology 1997;92:37-41) of 50 patients with gastro-oesophageal reflux disease followed for 17-22 years with treatment limited to lifestyle modifications and symptomatic drugs such as antacids. Three quarters of the patients had improved and six were symptom free, but the authors conclude that reflux is rarely self limiting.

A home test for HIV status that requires a finger prick blood sample to be posted to a laboratory has been piloted in the United States on 1255 people and found to give the same results as tests using venous blood samples (Archives of Internal Medicine 1997;157:309-14). Before long an HIV equivalent of home pregnancy testing may become available. As better treatments are developed (at a price) the advantages …

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