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Gauteng’s Health Department says transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is rapidly
rising in the province.
Over 1,000 men tested positive for STIs between April and December 2023, according to department
spokesperson Motalatale Modiba. A high number of pregnant women have also tested positive.
“In the same period of April to December 2023, we are noticing more pregnant women presenting at
facilities for antenatal care for the first time testing positive for syphilis,” Modiba said.
The spike in STI cases among pregnant women is especially troubling, as syphilis can have severe
health impacts if left untreated.
Modiba urged pregnant women to seek medical care immediately upon realizing they are expecting.
“We make a call to women to start antenatal care as soon as they know they are pregnant, so they
can be assisted with STI screening and timely treatment,” she said.
Health experts attribute the rise in STIs to an increase in unsafe sexual practices across Gauteng.
They stress the need for greater awareness and testing access.
“STIs pose major health risks if not diagnosed and managed promptly,” said Dr. Aisha Abdool of the
South African Clinical Association. “We need to normalize testing and remove the stigma around
The Health Department aims to increase education, condom distribution and testing availability to
control further spread. But individuals must also take precautions and get tested regularly, experts