Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) | Western Cape Government

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

(Western Cape Government)
Free and effective treatment is available. Encourage your partner/s to go to the clinic for treatment as you can be re-infected and must then be treated again. Helpline: 0800 012 322


The National Department of Health encourages all sexually active people to use condoms and be aware of the prevention of unplanned pregnancies as well as how to manage STIs. 

This includes:

  • Awareness of the symptoms and signs of STIs.
  • Importance of promptly seeking treatment for STIs.
  • Awareness of the availability of free, quality STI treatment in the public sector.
  • Awareness of the availability of free, quality male condoms from public clinics and hospitals and non-traditional outlets.
  • Importance of treating sexual partners.

What are STIs?

Sexually Transmitted Infections are infections caused by germs that are passed from one person to another mainly during unprotected sex. Most symptoms are easily noticed and can be treated if reported early to the sister at the clinic.

How will I know if I have an STI?

You may have an STI if you have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Discharge from the penis, burning or pain when passing urine.
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge, smelly, itching, burning or painful urination.
  • Mild to severe lower abdominal pain, sometimes fever, with or without vaginal discharge.
  • Sore(s) or blisters on the genitals with or without painful swelling in the groin.
  • Sores, itching of glands, penis pain.
  • Scrotal swelling, with or without pain.

If you suspect you have an STI, your health worker will do the following:

  • History taking.
  • Physical examination.
  • Testing for cervical cancer, if necessary, according to protocol.
  • Correct diagnosis.
  • Treatment using the syndromic approach or referral if indicated.
  • Health education.
  • Counselling.
  • Voluntary counselling and testing (VCT).
  • Partner notification slip(s) issued and treatment.
  • Condom promotion, demonstration and provision.
  • Referral to other services as indicated (family planning, antenatal care, PMTCT, TB, HIV treatment and care etc).
  • Record keeping (patient record, daily statistics).

Risk factors associated woth acquiring or having a STI

  • Any unprotected penetrative sex (anal, vaginal or oral: anal = highest risk; vaginal = high risk; oral = lowest risk).
  • Frequency of unprotected penetrative sex (the more sex, the higher the risk).
  • More than one sexual partner.
  • Sexual coercion, abuse, violence, rape.
  • Alcohol or drug use in conjunction with sexual activity.
  • Use of pills or injections for family planning without consistent and correct condom use.
  • Vaginal douching.
  • Any penetrative sex in the presence of an STI.
  • Periodic separation of partners, for example caused by migrant work.
  • History of recent STI.
  • Recent still birth, miscarriage or newborn with low weight.

If you answered yes to any statement above, you should go to the nearest clinic to be checked.


The content on this page was last updated on 15 March 2014