Sexually Transmitted Infections | Western Cape Government

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Description:

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are spread from one person to another by unprotected sexual contact. They are common and cause pain, and lead to infertility and death if not treated. Some common STIs are gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, chlamydia, syphilis and HIV. 

Important: You usually cannot tell if a person has an STI just by looking at them; people with STIs, including HIV, usually do not look sick and may have no symptoms
 

Common STIs
 

  • Syphilis is a bacterial infection that usually starts as a painless sore and a rash on palms of the hands and soles of the feet. It can also have no symptoms.
  • Genital herpes is marked by painful sores and blisters.
  • Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea usually cause genital discharge but sometimes also do not cause symptoms. 
  • Genital warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The characteristic symptom is a small bump on the genitals. 
  • HIV is a virus that attacks cells in the immune system, which is our body’s natural defence against illness. 
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection, may cause genital warts, and some of the subtypes can also cause cervical cancer.
Treatment of STI
 

Most STIs can be treated  with antibiotics and cured in the early stages of infection. However, Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus (HIV) infection 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, it can be treated with lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART). 

Syphilis infection that is not treated can cause serious complications that affect the whole body.  It can also be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy and childbirth, and cause sickness in the baby. This is why pregnant women are tested for syphilis during their antenatal clinic visits, and given treatment if they have infection. It is very important that their partners also go to the clinic and get treatment.

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

If you have any vaginal, penile or anal discharge or sores, go to your nearest primary health care clinics or centres for STI treatment. They will also provide information on preventing STIs, give you free condoms and offer you HIV testing . In addition, all women should have Pap smears done at the recommended intervals in order to detect changes from HPV infection early. 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. 

 
Instructions:

All primary health care clinics or centres can test and treat STIs. 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 15 January 2021