As part of a combination prevention approach, our HIV programs provide clients with sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening, diagnosis and treatment services, reducing their risk of HIV infection and improving their overall sexual and reproductive health.
Decreasing the burden of disease caused by sexually transmitted infections (STI) starts with efforts to increase awareness of their symptoms. We use behavior change communication to increase symptom awareness and to motivate care-seeking among high risk populations. Messages are delivered through channels most likely to reach affected populations including interpersonal communication and mid-media.
Once a client seeks care, we also work to make STI treatment simpler. In Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Madagascar and Myanmar, we distribute pre-packaged STI treatment kits designed to treat ulcerative and non-ulcerative STIs. The contents of an STI kit typically include appropriate antimicrobial medication, male condoms, partner referral cards and information on the STI itself. Providing all treatment essentials in one package improves adherence to full and proper treatment, helps prevent further transmission and encourages partner referral.
In other settings, we provide STI diagnostic and treatment services as part of a broader package of health services:
- Men undergoing voluntary medical male circumcision must be screened and treated for any STIs prior to undergoing the procedure.
- Women receiving certain reproductive health services, such as an intrauterine contraceptive device, also receive an STI screen.
- In 12 countries, we also screen clients for cervical cancer, which is caused by human papillomaviruses (HPV), a common STI.
Making a Difference
In 2011, PSI/Ethiopia launched three STI kits: AddisCure, AddisCure Plus and Ulcure. All were designed to improve syndromic management of STIs and make treatment more accessible to populations most at risk.