Background Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) are treated and managed in approximately 445 hospitals and 2170 Primary Health Care (PHC) centres in Saudi Arabia. Syndromic approach to STI treatment was introduced in 2010 at all PHCs for strengthening the national HIV programme STI unit.
Methodology STI case reporting from PHC and hospitals are to their respective administrative Sectors, then to the Regional Centre, from where it is sent to the STI unit of the National AIDS Program at Riyadh, MOH. The National AIDS Program (STI unit) holds the central registry of all STI cases reported in the Kingdom. Analysis of STI data collected over 3 years (2010–2012) has been carried out.
A total of 116,293 cases have been treated by clinical and syndromic approach at PHC and hospitals in the last 3 years, 85.5% being Saudi nationals. Majority of the STI cases treated are amongst females (85.65%). To a large extent the clinical cases at hospitals are backed by laboratory etiological diagnosis. The incidence of STI is 150 per100,000 population (0.15%).
The total number of STI cases treated has increased since the introduction of syndromic case approach, comprising 68.3% of the total STI cases.
The urethral discharges and non-vesicular genital ulcers comprise 29.1% of the total STI (45,260 numbers) cases treated in 2012.
Conclusion Urethral discharge and non-vesicular genital ulcers indicate recent infection. Presence of STI is well known to increase the risk of HIV acquisition and transmission by a factor of ten. Treatment of urethral discharge and non-vesicular genital ulcers has thus averted HIV transmission in approximately a third of STI clinic attendees. Introduction of Syndromic approach to STI treatment since 2010 as a national strategy has strengthened STI treatment services even in remote PHCs.