Wednesday, 17 April, 2024
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Gauteng Health flags rise in STI infections

There’s been an increase in sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV infections across Gauteng, according to the provincial Department of Health, which noted that between April and December last year, 167 109 men sought treatment at public health facilities, while 67 400 were treated for Male Urethritis Syndrome (MUS).

This, the department said, was indicative of newly acquired STIs.

IOL reports that there had been a “worrying escalation” of MUS – from 12% in 2020 to 15% in 2023 – which was particularly concentrated in quite specific regions of Johannesburg, West Rand, Katlehong Ekurhuleni, Sedibeng and Tshwane.

The areas are all characterised by tertiary institutions, high-risk populations including sex workers and drug users, mining communities, and cultural barriers to healthcare access.

Action plans

The Gauteng Health Department has urged people to consistently use condoms, get tested for HIV and seek counselling. It has also encouraged STI screening: out of 66 377 pregnant women screened between April and December 2023, a total of 1 255 tested positive for syphilis.

A concerning trend of increasing female uptake of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV infection has potentially contributed to higher rates of unprotected sex and STI transmission, it added, and called for greater male engagement in PrEP initiatives to bolster protection against STIs and HIV.

 

IOL article – Gauteng Health sounds alarm on rising STI infections ahead of Valentine's Day (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

Condoms out of stock in Gauteng

 

Alarm at low condom use among SA youth

 

New STI guidelines emphasise screening

 

Dramatic increase in STIs in Gauteng

 

HIV prevention pill uptake in SA climbs to 1m users

 

 

 

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