Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Surveillance
::What it is
:: Why it is Important
:: How it is Done
:: What we Do
What it is
- Assesses the magnitude of the STI burden at global, regional & country levels;
- Identifies vulnerable population groups;
- Provides data to advocate for resources for intervention activities;
- Monitors the impact of these intervention activities.
In addition, the following components of STI surveillance systems are required to provide effective management of STI patients:
- Studies on relative prevalence of responsible pathogens for STI syndromes;
- Antimicrobial resistance patterns of these pathogens.
Why it is Important
Epidemiological information collected from STI surveillance system enable national HIV/AIDS/STI programme managers to conduct efficient planning, monitoring and evaluation of intervention activities for STIs including HIV. In addition, the evidence-based information on transmission patterns of STIs and potential impact of planned intervention activities is required to make appropriate political and programmatic decisions at local as well as international level. Therefore, a quality STI surveillance system is an essential element of HIV/AIDS and STIs program.
How it is Done
The core components of STI surveillance include conducting:
- Routine systematic recording and reporting of numbers of STI patients seen at health care facilities and of the specific diseases or syndromes these patients have. This reporting can be done at all health care facilities or at a representative proportion of them (sentinel surveillance);
- Special studies to collect information on proportions of individuals infected with STIs in different population groups, using appropriate laboratory techniques;
- Special studies to determine the most common microbial causes of specific STI syndromes, such as genital ulcers or urethral or vaginal discharge syndromes;
- Special studies to determine the effectiveness of selected drugs for a specific STI pathogen, or monitoring the prevalence of antimicrobial resistance among specific pathogens.
STI surveillance has a special role in Second Generation HIV Surveillance (SGS), because trends in the incidence and prevalence of STIs reflect the occurrence of risky sexual activities. STI incidence and prevalence data can thus contribute to monitoring trends in riskiness of sexual behaviour, and potential exposure to HIV infection. Strengthening of STI surveillance is therefore an important component of Second Generation HIV Surveillance.
What we Do
The HIV/AIDS Department, working through its regional offices and country support activities, provides technical and financial support to countries scaling up their efforts in improving quality and completeness of STI surveillance information.
The key areas of work include:
- Improving quality and completeness of STI data at country level through training, technical and financial assistance;
- Developing surveillance guidelines;
- Strengthening research and laboratory capacity;
- Assessing regional and global burden of STIs;
- Promoting better utilisation of STI surveillance data for monitoring and evaluation of STI/HIV intervention activities.
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