Inadequate treatment for sexually transmitted diseases in the South African private health sector

Ann Marie Connolly*, D. Wilkinson, A. Harrison, M. Lurie, S. S. Abdool Karim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Correct management of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is important for their control, and to reduce HIV transmission. Guidelines on syndromic management of STDs were introduced by the provincial Department of Health in KwaZulu/Natal (KZN) in South Africa in 1995. The drug treatment provided for STDs by the 11 private general practitioners in one rural district was assessed and compared with provincial guidelines. Information was gathered through semi-structured interviews which asked the 11 doctors, who all dispense prescribed drugs as part of the consultation fee, how they would treat 3 hypothetical cases of STD syndromes. In all 33 prescriptions, the treatment did not correspond exactly with provincial recommendations and only 3 (9%) were adequate. All other prescriptions were inadequate because dose or duration was incorrect in 6 (18%), or because incorrect drugs were prescribed in 24 (73%) of cases. Eight of the 11 doctors did not provide adequate treatment for any of their cases. A continuing medical education programme for the doctors and their staff was devised to improve the STD treatment in the private sector in this South African district.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-327
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of STD and AIDS
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Guidelines
  • Private health sector
  • STDs
  • Syndromic management


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