“Through awareness campaigns, the province has seen, among others, a notable decrease in the incidence of STIs, from 4% in the year 2008/09 to 3.5% in 2012/13,” health MEC Hope Papo said.
Papo linked the recent progress to the department’s drive to encourage men to undergo medical circumcision in Gauteng health facilities. An increase in the demand for the surgical procedure has been noted.
In the last financial year, 94 151 circumcision operations were conducted at 64 sites, that included 41 clinics and 23 hospitals throughout the province.
“While circumcision has been shown to reduce the transmission of HIV to men, the department is still encouraging men to take precautions. Condoms should continue to be used, even after circumcision, and they are freely available at all public health facilities and other public centres in the province,” he said.
Papo said the partner treatment rate of those diagnosed with STIs has increased, from 21.7% in 2008/09 to 25.6% in the year 2012/13.
“Although this remains a bit of a challenge, our statistics show more people are coming in for treatment following diagnosis of their partners,” he said.
Papo commended Gauteng residents, particularly the youth, for heeding the department’s calls for prolonged abstinence and condom use when they decided to engage in sexual activities.
As part of the educational campaign to reduce incidents of STIs, the department has distributed 131 million male condoms and 1.3 million female condoms throughout the province.