[The fight against sexually transmitted diseases in Ivory Coast: what strategies can we use in the face of HIV/AIDS?].Sante. 2000 Jul-Aug; 10(4):287-92.S
In the AIDS era, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have become a major health problem in developing countries, particularly in Africa. Delays in the diagnosis and treatment of such infections may result in complications, many of which primarily affect women. Epidemiological studies in Abidjan have shown that more than 10% of the pregnant women attending antenatal clinics present STDs potentially serious for their own health or that of their infants (gonorrhea, chlamydia infection, genital ulcers or active syphilis). There is evidence that STDs increase the transmission of HIV and that improving the syndromic management of STDs reduces the incidence of HIV infection. This provides a strong argument in favor of controlling STDs in areas of high HIV prevalence. In Ivory Coast, as in other African countries, a STD control program has been integrated into the AIDS control program since 1992, as recommended by the World Health Organization. During the first six years of the STD program, considerable progress was made in some areas, but not without difficulty. Simple syndrome-based decision trees have been adopted for the management of STDs in primary health care. Clinical studies have shown these therapeutic algorithms to be effective. At the same time, effective and affordable drugs for treating STDs were added to the list of essential drugs in Ivory Coast, after an international invitation to tender. The entire staff of the public health sector in Abidjan has been trained in syndromic STD management. Training is now being extended to other parts of Ivory Coast, including the private health sector and, in particular, private nurses. The surveillance of syndromic STDs, mainly genital ulcers in both sexes and urethral discharge in men, facilitates monitoring and evaluation of the STD program, following health care activities and adapting orders for drugs for treating STDs to real needs. In the near future, some parts of the STD program will be strengthened, particularly the management of sexual partners of STD patients and reduction of the cost of STD treatment for pregnant women.