Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) in Africa
Burden of Disease
The global burden of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is staggering and many developing countries are experiencing epidemic proportions of STDs with no sign of remittance.In 1996, the World Health Organizations (WHO) estimated the global annual incidence of curable STDs (excluding HIV and other viral STDs) to be 333 million. Of these 333 million cases, 12 million are attributable to syphilis, 62 million to gonorrhea, 89 million to chlamydia, and 170 to trichomoniasis.
Sub-Saharan Africa bears the largest burden of these new cases, responsible for 11 to 35% of all new cases of curable STDs. STD infections affect the most vulnerable populations--women, children, and youth. Among women between the ages of 15 and 44, STDs are the second leading cause of morbidity and mortality, following only maternal causes. Many STDs are asymptomatic and are therefore inadequately treated or left untreated altogether.
Lack of access to and resources for health care and treatment contribute to the growing STD epidemic. As individuals remain untreated, the potential to spread their infection grows, and they become more susceptible to long term complications. Untreated chlamydial and gonorrhea infections often result in pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can cause infertility. Pelvic inflammatory disease now accounts for 50 to 80% of infertility in Africa. In one study the World Bank concluded that the sum of days lost due to HIV, syphilis and chlamydial infection is nearly equal to the number of days lost due to malaria and measles.
Providing prompt and adequate treatment for curable STDs is one of the most cost-effective methods to improve world health, and can also significantly contribute to decreasing the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
and Control of STDs and HIV
Prompt and adequate and treatment of STDs can prevent HIV infection, and monitoring STD behaviours and patterns of infection can provide insight into possible trends in HIV infection. WHO recommends the following general outline for essential components of STD/HIV control programs:
promotion of responsible sexual behaviour general access to condoms promotion of early detection and treatment of curable STDs inclusion of STD management in basic health care including maternal and child health, family planning and other reproductive health services targeted interventions for people at high risk
Possible Role for RC/RCs