Table 2

Advantages and disadvantages of syndromic management of STIs

Problem orientated (responds to patient’s symptoms)
High sensitivity for the detection of infections among symptomatic patients, and does not miss mixed infections
Treatment given at first visit
Provides opportunity and time for education and counselling
Avoids expensive laboratory tests
Avoids unnecessary return visit for laboratory results
Curtails referral to specialist centres
Can be implemented at primary care level
Over-diagnosis and over-treatment with the following consequences:
    Increased drug costs
    Possible side effects of multiple drugs
    Changes in vaginal flora
    Potential for increased drug resistance
    Domestic violence
Requires (re)training of staff
Possible resistance to its introduction from medical establishment
Cannot be used to detect infections among asymptomatic individuals