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 


  • Dr John Saunders PhD, MRCP (Co-Chair)
    Clinical Champion, National Chlamydia Screening Programme
    Public Health England, Colindale, London
  • Dr. Suneeta Soni MRCP (Co-Chair)
    Consultant Physician in Genitourinary Medicine & HIV
    Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton
  • Dr. Achyuta Nori MBBS, FRCP (UK), DipGUM, DipHIV
    Consultant Physician in Genitourinary Medicine & HIV
    Guy’s & St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
  • Dr. Sheel Patel FRCP [Treasurer]
    Consultant Physician in Genitourinary Medicine & HIV
    56 Dean Street Clinic, London
  • Dr. Michelle Cole DBMS
    Clinical Scientist, Public Health England
  • Dr Claire H Dewsnap FRCP
    Consultant Physician Genitourinary Medicine
    Sheffield Teaching Hospital Foundation Trust
  • Dr. Rachel Drayton MBChB, MRCP (secretary)
    Consultant Physician in Genitourinary Medicine & HIV
    Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, 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
  • Miss Victoria Miari BSc, MSc, PgDip
    Principal Scientific Officer and Clinical Scientist
    London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
  • Dr Rachel Pitt-Kendall MSc
    Senior Biomedical Scientist, Public Health England
  • Dr. Amanda Samarawickrama PhD, MBBS, MRCP, DipGUM, DipHIV, DFSRH, DTMH
    Consultant Physician in Genitourinary Medicine & HIV
    Sexual Health South West 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, C/O Executive Business Support, City Wharf, Davidson Road, Lichfield, Staffordshire, WS14 9DZ, United Kingdom]  

BSIG micro educational resource

BSIG have developed a free educational website covering in detail investigations for bacterial STIs with a focus on microscopy.  This replaces the previously produced DVD.  For access to the BSIG micro website, please click here 

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. The BSIG are looking at 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.

Training log

Competency assessment 


BSIG Annual Reports

BSIG Annual Report 2022

BSIG Annual Report 2021

BSIG Annual Report 2020

BSIG Annual Report 2019

BSIG Annual Report 2018



 Publications and position statements:

 Please click here for the BASHH Position Statement on the inappropriate use of multiplex testing platforms, and suboptimal antibiotic treatment regimens for bacterial sexually transmitted infections.

Please click here for the BASHH position statement on the position statement on doxycycline as prophylaxis for sexually transmitted infection 2021

Test of cure study: a feasibility study to estimate the time to test of cure (TOC) for Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis infections

B. Sultan, P. Benn, G. Schrembi et al. Sexually transmitted Infections 2020;96:402-407


Lecture by Professor David Taylor-Robinson

This is a unique opportunity to hear a lecture by Professor David Taylor-Robinson, an eminent microbiologist who discovered Mycoplasma genitalium. David was an original member of the Bacterial Special Interest Group and is an Emeritus Professor at Imperial College London. The keynote lecture was given at the Hic-Vac Annual General Meeting in Liverpool and gives an historical perspective of human challenge studies including the ethical principles that have developed and changed over time. A summary of the content by Professor Taylor Robinson can be seen here and the lecture itself can be viewed by clicking on the link:  


Neisseria gonorrhoeae

The GRASP sentinel surveillance system involves the collection of N. gonorrhoeae isolates from consecutive individuals attending a network of 27 sexual health clinics (SHCs) across England and Wales and their 21 associated laboratories, typically between July and September annually.  Click here for latest GRASP report. 

 Mycoplasma genitalium

The M. genitalium antimicrobial resistance surveillance (MARS) pilot was established to assess the feasibility of conducting sentinel surveillance of antimicrobial resistance in M. genitalium from specimens collected in sentinel sexual health clinics across England. Click here for the 2019 pilot report.



The Sexual Health Improvement Programme (SHIP) Health Integration Team (HIT) is working to improve the sexual health of people in the region and reduce sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Our team helps to develop evidence-based sexual health services. We support education events and patient and public involvement (PPI), develop new funding applications, share best practice across our network and maintain an overview of research to improve how services are developed and delivered. Our members are from the University of Bristol, University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), Unity Sexual Health, UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), Bristol City Council, North Somerset Council, South Gloucestershire Council, voluntary sector sexual health providers and public contributors.

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

Want to join BASHH?

Find out about our member benefits