Pregnant women as a reservoir of undetected sexually transmitted diseases in rural South Africa

implications for disease control

A. Willem Sturm, David Wilkinson*, Nomfanelo Ndovela, Shirley Bowen, Catherine Connolly

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives. This study was undertaken to determine the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in pregnant women in rural South Africa and to determine the value of using abnormal urogenital symptoms to identify infected women. Methods. This was a cross-sectional study of 327 patients attending prenatal clinics. Results. Of the 271 women with complete data, 141 (52%) had at least 1 STD and 49 (18%) had more than 1. Abnormal symptoms were common (n = 225; 83%), but associations were weak, and the positive predictive value of different symptoms for infection ranged from 2% to 54%. Conclusions. Most STDs in rural South African women remain undetected and untreated. As the scope for laboratory diagnosis in resource-poor settings is limited, presumptive treatment of pregnant women and their partners may be a cost-effective option to reduce transmission of STDs and HIV infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1243-1245
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Public Health
Volume88
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1998
Externally publishedYes

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