With Valentine's Day two days away, Gauteng MEC for Health has urged people to practice safe sex due to the rise in sexually transmitted diseases. MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko said between April and December 2023, more than 167 000 men visited health facilities in the province with STI's and 67 400 were treated for Male Urethrios Syndrome (MUS)
Ralehoko said MUS data accurately reflects newly acquired STIs. "Symptoms of MUS include the discharge from the private part to the burning urination. If left untreated, complications can include pain and swelling of the testes. Gonorrhoea and chlamydia are the most predominant cause of MUS in South Africa," she said. Ralehoko added that in 2020, the MUS incidence in the province recorded at 12% and has increased over the years to 15% in 2023. "This data reflects on the increase of the STI's incidence in Sub District Alexandra, Braamfontein, Merafong, Katlehong, Ekurhuleni, Germiston, Ekurhuleni, Sedibeng and Tshwane."
When it comes to contributing factors, the MEC revealed that these include high rates of unsafe behaviour such as non-use of condoms during intimacy with multiple sexual partners, inconsistent condom use, high levels of substance use and cultural norms. "We should not let STIs go untreated as they increase the risk of HIV infection and transmission, which will hamper the province's goal to reduce new HIV infections by 2030," she said. Raboloko also encouraged women to start early antenatal care as soon as they realise that they are pregnant for thorough screening of any STI and appropriate and timely treatment for those who test positive.