GAUTENG HEALTH URGES SAFE SEX ON VALENTINE’S DAY.
Written by Neo Molefi on February 13, 2024
Written by: Tasha Siziba
The Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH) has issued a warning to the public about risky sexual behavior, urging against it to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV infections.
Male urethritis syndrome (MUS) was treated in 67 400 (40%) of the 167 109 guys who visited public health facilities in the province between April and December 2023, with new STIs accurately recorded in the MUS data.
Urethritis is a men’s lower urinary tract infection primarily caused by chlamydia and gonorrhoea, which inflames the urethra, the fibromuscular tube that exits urine and semen.
Department spokesperson Motalatale Modiba said it has noticed an increase in STIs in areas such as Alexandra, Sandton, Braamfontein, and Hillbrow.
“Sub-district E and F in Johannesburg have tertiary institutions and “high-risk” individuals such as sex workers and people who inject drugs. Merafong is a mining area with a majority of the male population, Region 7 has farming areas where cultural norms hinder uptake of services especially amongst men, while Ekurhuleni South and Lesedi have TVET colleges, informal settlements, truck stops and hostels.”
According to the provincial department, The GDoH is implementing various STI prevention strategies, including promoting the use of both male and female condoms, which are readily available in medical institutions.
Modiba says the interventions aim to decrease sexual partners, boost HIV counseling, and STI screening, delay sexual debut, and promote sexual well-being.
“We believe that the high uptake of PrEP among women has led this group to having unprotected sex resulting in high incidence of MUS. The studies have reported that STI incidence is also high among young women receiving PrEP.”
MEC for Health and Wellness, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, said in total, 38,305 girls between the ages of 15 and 49 were started on PrEP between April and November 2023, compared to 11,988 males.
“We would like to encourage more males to get initiated on PrEP to protect themselves against STI. Additionally, both men and women who are on PrEP should use condoms to protect themselves against STIs, HIV, and unwanted pregnancies,” stated the MEC.
February is Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Month, also known as STI/Condom Week, promoting safe and protected sex practices and Pregnancy Awareness week.