University of Cape Town South Africa

The UCT invention describes a method and point of care test for diagnosing symptomatic and asymptomatic sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and bacterial vaginosis (BV). STIs and BV cause inflammation in the female genital tract. In resource-limited settings, BV and STIs are managed according to signs and symptoms since this approach is easily implemented, relatively inexpensive and patients are given immediate treatment. It has been found that STIs and BV are often present without producing or showing any symptoms (asymptomatic). In fact, the UCT study found that women who had asymptomatic infections had the same level of inflammation as women with symptomatic infections and may, therefore, be at increased risk of HIV infections and reproductive complications. Many women may thus not be aware that they have an infection and hence do not seek healthcare or treatment

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