Prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
Counselling and behavioural interventions offer primary prevention against STIs (including HIV), as well as against unintended pregnancies. These include:
• comprehensive sexuality education, STI and HIV pre- and post-test counselling;
• safer sex/risk-reduction counselling, condom promotion;
• STI interventions targeted to key populations, such as sex workers, men who have sex with men and people who inject drugs; and
• STI prevention education and counselling tailored to the needs of adolescents.
In addition, counselling can improve people’s ability to recognize the symptoms of STIs and increase the likelihood they will seek care or encourage a sexual partner to do so.
Unfortunately, lack of public awareness, lack of training of health workers, and long-standing, widespread stigma around STIs remain barriers to greater and more effective use of these interventions.