Department of Reproductive Health and Research (RHR), World Health Organization
Sexually transmitted and other reproductive tract infections
A guide to essential practice
Cervical infections are much less common than vaginal infections, especially among women who use reproductive health services, and are usually asymptomatic. The cervix is the most common site of infection for gonorrhoea and chlamydia. Even if a woman is asymptomatic, it may be possible to detect signs of infection on careful speculum examination (Table 3.3). Speculum examination may also reveal signs of other infections, including cervical ulcers and warts.
Indications and opportunities for screening
Screening may be done:
People with frequent exposure to STI, such as sex workers, should be screened regularly.
Available screening tools
Table 3.3. Clinical criteria for cervical infection
Screening is one of the few ways to detect cervical infection and it should not be limited to women with vaginal discharge. Cervical infection is usually asymptomatic and women without vaginal discharge are as likely to have gonorrhoea or chlamydial infection as women with discharge. Despite lack of symptoms, consequences can be severe if infection reaches the upper genital tract.
Infections of the male and female reproductive tract and their consequences:
Preventing STIs/RTIs and their complications
STI/RTI education and counselling
Promoting prevention of STI/RTI and use of services
STI/RTI Assessment during Routine Family Planning Visits
STI/RTI Assessment in pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period
Management of symptomatic STIs/RTIs
STI/RTI complications related to pregnancy, miscarriage, induced abortion, and the postpartum period
Annex 1. Clinical skills needed for STI/RTI
Annex 2. Disinfection and universal precautions
Annex 3. Laboratory tests for RTI
Annex 4. Medications