Sexually Transmitted Infections | Western Cape Government

Sexually Transmitted Infections


Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are spread from one person to another by sexual contact. These infections cause Sexually Transmitted Disease (STDs), which are common, can cause pain, and can cause infertility and death if not treated. Some common STDs are gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, chlamydial infection and syphilis. Genital warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and some subtypes of HPV are responsible for most cases of cervical cancer.

Important: You usually cannot tell if a person has an STD just by looking at them; people with STDs, including HIV, usually do not look sick. It can take three to ten years for a person with HIV to show symptoms.


Most STDs can be treated and cured. However, Acquired Immune-Deficiency Syndrome (Aids) and the sexually transmitted virus - Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus (HIV) - that causes Aids cannot be cured. HIV can be transmitted by sexual contact, by blood and from a pregnant woman to her child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding. Although HIV cannot be cured, its effects can sometimes be stopped for some time.

It's important to remember that other STDs such as syphilis and vaginal thrush increase a person's chances of getting HIV or spreading it to others. This is a good reason for people with STDs to get treatment immediately and if possible, to be tested for HIV and counselled. This can be done at all primary health care clinics and centres.


The HIV/Aids Directorate has started a pilot STD programme with a few General Practitioners in the province. The programme makes counselling, diagnosis and treatment of STDs available in an alternative setting to a primary health care facility. The GP will give a clinical examination and treatment for STDs if necessary. The client will have to pay a consultation fee but the medication will be given free of charge. Find out from your local primary health care facility where you can contact one of the GPs.

All primary health care clinics or centres can test and treat STDs. If necessary, people may need to be referred to secondary or tertiary level hospitals for further testing and treatment.

First-time visitors to the clinic, secondary or tertiary hospital will be asked to fill out a form and a folder will be opened for the patient. Bring your ID book. A referral letter from the clinic will be required when visiting a hospital. Hospitals will ask for your most recent payslip/income assessment (IRP5). Bring your hospital card if you've previously registered at the hospital.

Provided At: These facility categories:
Provided by:
Government Body: (Western Cape Government)
The content on this page was last updated on 5 September 2013