Sexually transmitted disease syndromes in rural South Africa

results from health facility surveillance

David Wilkinson*, Anne Marie Connolly, Abigail Harrison, Mark Lurie, S. S. Abdool Karim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Objective: Surveillance for sexually transmitted diseases (STD) is important for priority setting, service development, and evaluating interventions. Goal: To conduct health facility-based surveillance for STDs to inform design of a control program and to provide baseline measures for evaluation of interventions. Study Design: Surveillance system for patients with STD syndromes in public and private sector health facilities in Hlabisa, South Africa. Results: Over a 5-month period, 4,781 patients with an STD were reported, 3,126 (65%) by clinics and 1,655 (35%) by general practitioners; 2,582 (54%) were in men. Most were diagnosed with a single syndrome. Discharge was most common (49% of both male and female patients), followed by ulcer (36% of men and 14% of women). Mean symptom duration was 18 days for women and 10 days for men (p < 0.0001). A quarter reported having another STD in the previous 3 months. The highest age-specific incidence was estimated at 16.4% among women 20 to 24 years of age. Conclusions: The burden of STDs is high in rural South Africa. There is considerable scope for improved disease control, and the private sector has an important role to play.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-23
Number of pages4
JournalSexually Transmitted Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes

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