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    Treatment kit nips STDs in the bud.

    AFRICA WOMEN AND HEALTH. 1993 Apr-Jun; 1:24-6.

    Within the framework of a pilot project, nearly 100 pharmacies in Cameroon will start selling antibiotics in a treatment kit for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The objective is to control STDs as well as to reduce the transmission of AIDS, because the presence of genital ulcers increases the risk of getting infected with HIV fifty-fold. The Ministry of Health is sponsoring the project in collaboration with Family Health International and Population Services International with fund from the U.S. Agency for International Development. This social marketing project hopes to attract clients with low product prices and availability, thereby improving the quality of STD treatment. About 90% of people with STDs go to a local healer or pharmacist, where they receive inadequate treatment. Antibiotics are often sold by untrained staff, who cannot provide instructions for use. Incomplete dosages fail to cure the infection and contribute to the increase of resistant bacterial strains. The strict controls over antibiotics were relaxed recently. In 1991, the U.S. food and Drug Administration allowed the over-the-counter sale of an antibiotic drug to treat vaginal candidiasis. The Cameroon treatment kit will include appropriate antibiotics to treat the most common strains of gonorrhea and chlamydia, promote correct condom use, and include 2 packages of condoms and a partner referral card to seek treatment. A number of baseline studies are underway, including surveillance among pregnant women and commercial sex workers to learn about the prevalence of STDs, and research concerning the pathogenesis of male urethritis. The strong private pharmacy distribution system will help realize the project. The campaign messages will focus on proper STD treatment and lowering the chances of getting AIDS. Advertising will link treatment with prevention and the Prudence condom, while radio commercials and leaflets will promote the kits as an effective means of treatment for STDs.
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