Skip to Main Navigation

Sexually transmitted infections in developing countries : current concepts and strategies on improving STI prevention, treatment, and control (English)

The global burden of sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) to health and development is often overlooked as a public health priority. The majority of STIs worldwide are caused by eight infections: syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, genital herpes, hepatitis B virus (HBV), and human papillomavirus (HPV). These infections, often silent and without symptoms, can result in serious or fatal health consequences. Cervical cancer, caused by HPV, is the largest single cause of years of life lost to cancer in the developing world and, because it affects women in their most productive years, has a devastating effect on the well-being of families. Syphilis among pregnant women still results in up to 1.5 million perinatal deaths each year. Damage to the fallopian tubes from gonorrhea and chlamydia can lead to infertility, as well as tubal pregnancy, an important cause of maternal death in developing countries. Hepatitis B, most frequently transmitted from mother-to-child in endemic areas, can result in chronic infection, liver cancer and liver failure. Genital herpes and other genital ulcer diseases increase risk of HIV transmission. STIs are among the world's most common diseases, with an annual incidence exceeded only by diarrheal diseases, malaria, and lower respiratory infections. The burden on the health care system and healthcare expenditure is great. STIs, even without including HIV, are consistently among the most common conditions leading to health care visits regardless of national resources. Due to their high prevalence, particularly in developing country settings, STIs result in substantial productivity losses for individuals and communities, particularly where the majority of the population is under 40 years of age. In developing country settings, STIs are among the leading causes of disability adjusted life years (DALYs) lost for women of reproductive age, exceeded only by maternal causes and HIV. This technical note was developed to provide World Bank technical staff a background in STI burden, economic costs, evidenced-based STI programmatic interventions. New research findings and future directions are also discussed, such as new point-of-care diagnostics, herpes simplex virus (HSV) treatment to prevent HIV and male circumcision.


  • Document Date


  • Document Type

    Working Paper

  • Report Number


  • Volume No


  • Total Volume(s)


  • Country


  • Region

    The World Region,

  • Disclosure Date


  • Disclosure Status


  • Doc Name

    Sexually transmitted infections in developing countries : current concepts and strategies on improving STI prevention, treatment, and control

  • Keywords

    men who have sex with men;social and environmental;genital herpes;female sex workers;cervical cancer;genital ulcer;risk of hiv transmission;number of sex partners;Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome;rural to urban migration;Sexually Transmitted Infection;health care system;hepatitis b virus;adverse pregnancy outcome;pregnant woman;primary liver cancer;chronic liver disease;burden of disease;mother to child;cervical cancer screening;chain of transmission;genital ulcer disease;personal risk behaviors;reproductive tract infection;hiv prevalence;perinatal death;transmission of hiv;chronic pelvic pain;millennium development goal;pelvic inflammatory disease;general partner;diagnosis and treatment;genital herpes infection;Sexually transmitted diseases;male latex condoms;basic public health;drug distribution systems;development of vaccine;prevalence hiv;laboratory diagnostic tests;family at home;confidentiality of service;sexually active women;commercial sex worker;epithelial cell line;consistent condom use;likelihood of infection;risk reduction counseling;community level intervention;health care infrastructure;hours of operation;reproductive health clinic;family planning clinic;antenatal care clinic;Human Immunodeficiency Virus;public health intervention;hepatitis b vaccine;poverty reduction effort;high risk group;health specialist;neonatal death;young adult;industrialized nation;reproductive age;antibiotic drugs;diarrheal disease;vulnerable population;health seeking;syphilis screening;case management;infected partner;community education;prevalence rate;young age;effective strategy;adverse outcomes;antiviral drug;moderate income;unprotected sex;hiv testing;single dose;lost productivity;hiv epidemic;social stigma;traditional healer;clinical presentation;medical cost;reproductive morbidity;cervical screening;symptomatic individuals;daily income;targeted intervention;male circumcision;Maternal Mortality;chronic disease;financial cost;Infectious Disease;curative treatment;rural community;marginalized group;young men;health consequence;young woman;productivity loss;perinatal mortality;sexual exposure;sexual practice;laboratory capacity;young people;general population;protective behavior;effective vaccines;maternal death;mucosal surface;effective drugs;common cause;adequate surveillance;condom promotion;clinical service;pap smear;congenital syphilis;partner treatment;Health cost;personal communication;research study;sexual encounter;informed choice;antimicrobial resistance;local program;born infant;cultural norm;fallopian tubes;poor health;antibiotic resistance;preventable disease;reproductive year;young population;drug list;resistant strains;family breakdown;drug formulary;import duty;local taxes;drug resistance;treatment failure;quality service;social disease;maternal causes;drug treatment;mobile populations;diagnostic approach;infant immunization;partner notification;societal factor;public clinic;healthcare expenditure;limited resources;bacterial vaginosis;productive years;affected country;operational research;program effectiveness;community control;program impact;Disease Surveillance;endemic area;clinical management;transmission dynamic;migrant population;adverse consequence;injecting equipment;illicit drug;social issue;unborn child;Ectopic Pregnancy;blood products;social consequence;sexual pleasure;anal sex;respiratory disease;prevention program;infant blindness;broader community;treatment regimen;african woman;early death;respiratory infection;surface area;infected person;notifiable disease;transmission efficiency;cost-effective solution;clinical research;migrant worker;health economist;Disease Prevention;acute care;medical treatment;program delivery;herbal preparation;cross-sectional studies;primary care;vaginal flora;resource availability;clinical algorithms;hiv incidence;evaluation study;chronic infections;primary prevention;protective barrier;national resource;drug therapy;acidic environment;adolescent girl;symptomatic patients



Official version of document (may contain signatures, etc)

  • Official PDF
  • TXT*
  • Total Downloads** :
  • Download Stats
  • *The text version is uncorrected OCR text and is included solely to benefit users with slow connectivity.


Sexually transmitted infections in developing countries : current concepts and strategies on improving STI prevention, treatment, and control (English). Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.