Prevention and Treatment of Sexually Transmitted Disease as an HIV Prevention Strategy

The interconnectedness of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) grows more and more apparent as biomedical and behavioral scientists learn more about peopleís susceptibility and risks. CDC is applying new research to prevent all of the major STDs, including HIV infection, and to ensure that communities have the information they need to design, implement, and evaluate comprehensive approaches to HIV/STD prevention programming.

The Parallel Epidemics of HIV Infection and Other STDS

Globally, an estimated 333 million new cases of curable STDs1 occur each year among adults, according to 1995 estimates of the World Health Organization. STDs in the United States have reached epidemic proportions with an estimated 12 million new cases each year.2 Of these, 3 million occur among teenagers, 13 to 19 years old.

The spread of HIV in the U.S. through sexual transmission has paralleled that of other STDs. For example, the geographic distribution of the emerging problem of heterosexual HIV transmission in the South closely parallels that of syphilis. Most of the health districts with the highest syphilis and gonorrhea rates in the U.S. are concentrated in the southern part of the country, the same part of the Nation with the highest HIV prevalence among childbearing women. In addition, researchers have long recognized that the risk behaviors which place individuals at risk for other STDs also increase a personís risk of becoming infected with HIV. STD surveillance can provide important indications of where HIV infection may spread, and where efforts to promote safer sexual behaviors should be targeted.

Other STDs Facilitate HIV Transmission

There is now strong evidence that other STDs increase HIV transmission and, conversely, that STD treatment reduces HIV spread.

New Evidence for the Efficacy of STD Treatment in HIV Prevention

Making the Numbers Count: Turning What We Have Learned into Prevention

CDC has a wide range of initiatives to reduce the spread of STDs and the attendant increased risk of the HIV transmission. Some of these include:

STD Presentations in Vancouver

In Vancouver, CDC will present updates on recent community-based efforts to prevent, diagnose, and treat STDs, as well as the latest research examining the relationship between HIV and other STDs -- both in terms of risk and prevention.


Declining Prevalence of Gonorrhea and Chlamydia in Female Sex Workers, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 1991-94, Peter H. Kilmarx.

Rapid Decline in Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevalence Among Brothel-based Sex Workers in La Paz, Bolivia: The Experience of Proyecto Contra Sida, 1992-1995, William C. Levine.

Heterogeneity of Heterosexual Transmission: The Role of Other STDs, Judith N. Wasserheit.


HIV/STD High Risk Behavior Surveys--Where are the Gaps and What Needs to be Done? Robert Brackbill.

Randomized Controlled Trial of Intensive Group Counseling to Reduce Risk Behaviors in High-Risk STD Clinic Patients, Bernard Branson.

HIV/STD Educator/Trainer Network, Dennis Jarvis.

Association of Penicillin Mass Treatment Program with Sexually Transmitted Diseases among Female Sex Workers in Indonesia, M. Ridaun Joesoef.

Additional Sources of Care for STD Clinic Patients: Implications for HIV/STD Prevention Efforts, Jean M. Lawrence.

Needs Assessment of the Technical Assistance (TA) and Training Needs of STD and HIV Prevention Programs in the United States, Kathleen A. Stark.

HIV Seroincidence Among Persons Attending Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinics in the United States, 1988-1995, Hillard Weinstock.