Bacterial SIG

The Bacterial Special Interest Group (BSIG) works under the auspices of BASHH to provide educational and research support in the field of bacterial sexually transmitted infections.

To promote communication between microbiologists and clinicians involved in the diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infection by:

  • Offering courses in specialist areas e.g. microscopy course
  • Production of educational material
  • Organisation of symposia on new areas
  • Arranging update meetings, e.g. syphilis update days



Core Group
  • Professor Emeritus Catherine Ison PhD, FRCPath [Chair]
    Clinical Scientist, Public Health England

  • Dr. Achyuta Nori MBBS, FRCP (UK), DipGUM, DipHIV [OGM Organiser]
    Consultant Physician in Genitourinary Medicine & HIV
    Guy’s & St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
  • Dr. Frances Keane MD, FRCP [Secretary]
    Consultant Physician in Genitourinary Medicine & HIV
    Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro.

  • Dr. Suneeta Soni MRCP [Web Master]
    Consultant Physician in Genitourinary Medicine & HIV
    Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton

  • Dr. Sundar Uthayakumar MMBS, MRCOG, MRCS [Microscopy course coordinator]
    Consultant Physician in Genitourinary Medicine & HIV
    Lister Hospital, Stevenage

  • Dr. Sheel Patel FRCP [Treasurer]
    Consultant Physician in Genitourinary Medicine & HIV
    56 Dean Street Clinic, London


Extended group
  • Dr. Sunil Maharjan PhD,  [Web Master]
    Biomedical Scientist
    National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC)

  • Dr. Elizabeth Claydon FRCP
    Consultant Physician in Genitourinary Medicine & HIV
    North Devon District Hospital, Devon.

  • Dr. Michelle Cole DBMS
    Clinical Scientist, Public Health England 

  • Dr. Rachael Drayton MBChB, MRCP, Dip GUM, DipHIV, DFSRH
    Consultant Physician in Genitourinary Medicine & HIV
    Cardiff Royal Infirmary, Cardiff

  • Dr. Helen Fifer BMBS, MRCP, FRCPath
    Consultant Microbiologist
    Public Health England, Colindale, London.

  • Dr. Emma Harding-Esch, PhD
    Associate Professor,  London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

  • Dr Patrick Horner MD, FRCP
    Consultant Senior Lecturer in Genitourinary Medicine
    Bristol University and University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, Bristol.

  • Victoria Miari
    Principal Scientific Officer and Clinical Scientist
    London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

  • Alice Pickering
    Staff nurse in Sexual Health.
    Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton

  • Prof. Tariq Sadiq, MD, FRCP
    Professor of Molecular Medicine, St. George’s University
  • Dr. Amanda Samarawickrama PhD, MBBS, MRCP, DipGUM, DipHIV, DFSRH, DTMH
    Consultant Physician in Genitourinary Medicine & HIV
    Sexual Health South West London
  • Dr John Saunders PhD, MRCP
    Clinical Champion, National Chlamydia Screening Programme
    Public Health England, Colindale, London
How to join the BSIG

Any member of BASHH with an interest in bacterial sexually transmitted infections can apply to join the Bacterial Special Interest Steering Group. For informal enquiries please contact members of the Group directly or via [BASHH, Chester House, 68 Chestergate, Macclesfield, SK11 6DY, United Kingdom]



Microscopy for Sexually Transmitted Infections DVD

HPA dvd labelThe BSIG of BASHH has produced an educational DVD on "Microscopy for sexually transmittted infections (STIs). The DVD has video demonstrations of how to perform genital examinations of male and female patients and how to take appropropriate samples. Clinical images of common STIs and other genital conditions are shown throughout these sections.

In addition, there are demonstrations of various staining techniques, such as the Gram stain and how to set up a microscope for both brighfield and darkfield microscopy as well as sections on the interpretation of microscopy images. There is a section on genital ulceration and microscopy videos of Trichomonas vaginalis and spirochaetes. The DVD also contains advice on quality assurance and health and safety. Back-up PDF files accompany the video demonstrations.

Feedback from users of the DVD has been uniformly positive; many using it within their departments as a teaching aid for new staff members as well as medical and nursing students.

Please click here for a link to the DVD site, with some sample footage and ordering information



STI Slide Bank

Please find below a bank of test slides and corresponding questions put together by members of the BSIG to assess your microscopy interpretation skills.

STI slide-bank



BSIG Microscopy Courses

Date: Postponed. Due to current Covid restrictions we are working on new ways to deliver the teaching and practical content of this course




Microscopy Training

As part of its commitment to training the BSIG have produced the following microscopy competency and assessment documents.

Microscopy for Sexually Transmitted Infections

Appendix 1 Training log

appendix 2 Competency assessment



BSIG Annual Reports

BSIG Annual Report 2019

BSIG Annual Report 2018

BSIG Annual Report 2017

BSIG Annual Report 2016

BSIG Annual Report 2015

BSIG Annual Report 2014

BSIG Annual Report 2013

BSIG Annual Report 2012



Links to other sites



SHIP (Sexual Health Improvement Programme: was set up as a Bristol Health Partners Health Integration Team in 2013. It brings together experts from across disciplines to improve the sexual health of people in the region and reduce STIs, supporting the commissioning of evidence-based sexual health services. Our priorities are: increasing uptake of HIV testing; improving STI testing and responding to antimicrobial resistant (AMR) infections; increasing patient and public involvement in sexual health and ending stigma; ending domestic violence; reducing health inequalities; implementing informatics and digital transformation; developing a national network for sexual health improvement. A major focus for the next three years will be evaluating and developing strategies, including vaccination, for combating the development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in STIs. Stay up-to-date with our newsletters:

STIRIG (Sexually Transmitted Infections Research Interest Group, based at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine) aims to: Help raise awareness of STI-related research being conducted at LSHTM; Increase cross-disciplinary and cross-Faculty work on STIs; Develop internal and external collaborations; Maximise funding opportunities. Find out more at:


Medical Societies

Mycology Network Report

Click here to view the by the Report by the Working Group of the Health Protection Agency Advisory Committee for Fungal Infection and Superficial Parasites, entitled "Fungal Diseases in the UK. The current inadequate provision of support for diagnosis and treatment: assessment and proposed network solution" produced " (Nov 2004)

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