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Sex Transm Dis. 2000 Jan;27(1):1-8.

Evidence of declining STD prevalence in a South African mining community following a core-group intervention.

Author information

1
AIDSCAP/Family Health International, Nairobi, Kenya. rsteen@together.net

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To reduce the prevalence of curable sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in a South African mining community through provision of STD treatment services, including periodic presumptive treatment and prevention education to a core group of high-risk women living in areas around the mines.

METHODS:

Women at high risk for STDs attended a mobile clinic monthly for examination and counseling, and were treated presumptively for bacterial STDs with a directly observed 1-g dose of azithromycin. Gonococcal and chlamydial infection rates were measured by urine ligase chain reaction, and genital ulcers were assessed by clinical examination. Changes in STD prevalence among local miners were assessed through comparison of prevalence in two cross-sectional samples of miners taken 9 months apart, and through routine disease surveillance at mine health facilities.

RESULTS:

During the first 9 months of the intervention, 407 women used the services. Baseline prevalence of Neisseria gonorrhoeae and/or Chlamydia trachomatis in women was 24.9%; 9.7% of these women had clinical evidence of genital ulcer disease (GUD). The proportion of women with incident gonococcal or chlamydial infections at the first monthly return visit (69% follow-up rate) was 12.3%, and genital ulcers were found in 4.4% of these women. In the miner population, the prevalence of N gonorrhoeae and/or C trachomatis was 10.9% at baseline and 6.2% at the 9-month follow-up examination (P<0.001). The prevalence of GUD by clinical examination was 5.8% at baseline and 1.3% at follow-up examination (P< 0.001). Rates of symptomatic STDs seen at mine health facilities decreased among miners in the intervention area compared with miners living farther from the site and with less exposure to the project.

DISCUSSION:

Provision of STD treatment services to a core group of high-risk women may significantly reduce their burden of disease, and may contribute to a reduction in community STD prevalence. In the absence of sensitive and affordable screening tests for STDs in women, periodic presumptive treatment coupled with prevention education is a feasible approach to providing STD services in this population.

PIP:

This intervention-linked study was conducted to reduce the prevalence of curable sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in a South African mining community through provision of STD treatment services, including periodic presumptive treatment and prevention education to a core group of high-risk women living in areas around the mines. In this article, the impact of such an intervention is assessed on the women as well as the male migrant community in the intervention area. During the 9 months of the intervention, 407 women used the services. Baseline prevalence of gonococcal or chlamydial infections in women was 24.9%; 9.7% of these women had clinical evidence of genital ulcer disease (GUD). At the first monthly return, baseline for gonococcal or chlamydial infected women was 12.3%, and genital ulcers were found in 4.4% of the women. In the miner population, the overall result was similar to the result observed in the women: a decrease in rate of baseline prevalence of gonococcal or chlamydial infections and GUD was noted. In addition, rates of symptomatic STDs seen at mine health facilities decreased more among miners living closer within the intervention area than among those living farther away. In conclusion, provision of STD treatment services to a core group of high-risk women may significantly reduce their burden of disease, and may contribute to a reduction in community STD prevalence.

PMID:
10654860
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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