Is there an answer to the scourge of STIs among the youth?


According to a recent exchange between Gauteng Health MEC, Gwen Ramokgopa and DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC, Jack Bloom, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have increased dramatically in Gauteng over the last two years.

Provincial health statistics put the number of patients treated last year in public hospitals and clinics at more than 500 000. Pointing to a written reply received from Ramokgopa in the Gauteng Legislature, Bloom said the STIs treated in 2015 and 2016 pointed the paradigm of sexual recklessness to the 20–29 age group, as this is the most affected group, with more females attending public health facilities than males.

Bloom said the reasons for this are attributed to social, behavioural and biological factors. “The underlying cause is unprotected sex with multiple partners, which is particularly prevalent in the 20–29 age group. It shows that the messages about safe sex are not working as they should be,” explained Bloom in a written response to the Rosebank Killarney Gazette.

“More attractive condoms can help, but they need to be used consistently as infection can happen on the one occasion that a condom is not used. Alcohol is a problem as it makes it more likely that a condom will not be used.

“STIs like syphilis and gonorrhoea can be easily treated but people need to know the symptoms and get the treatment in good time. More education is definitely needed on STIs as they can also lead to infertility if they are not treated.”

Bloom added that people should always know their status and whether they’re infected with any another STI. “This should be followed by safe sex practices. It is particularly important to be faithful to one partner,” he said.

“It is disturbing that STIs like syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhoea have increased so sharply. While they are curable, their presence increases the risk of HIV infection.

“More efforts are needed to highlight what can be done to prevent STIs and to provide swift, effective treatment to prevent an epidemic among young people in particular.”

What do you think should be done to reduce the pattern of STIs in the province? Send us your suggestions by posting on the Rosebank Killarney Gazette Facebook page.

Tshepiso Mametela

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