Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) for Study Session 31

Now that you have completed this study session, you can assess how well you have achieved its Learning Outcomes by answering the following questions. Write your answers in your Study Diary and discuss them with your Tutor at the next Study Support Meeting. You can check your answers with the Notes on the Self-Assessment Questions at the end of this Module.

SAQ 31.1 (tests Learning Outcomes 31.1 and 31.2)

  • a.List all routes of transmission of STIs and give two examples for each.
  • b.Explain why the risk of transmission of STIs is greater in women than in men.


  • a.The following are the common routes of transmission of STIs, together with two typical examples.
    1. Sexual: e.g. HIV, gonorrhoea
    2. Mother to child: e.g. HIV, chlamydia
    3. Unsafe injections and blood transfusion: e.g. HIV, syphilis.
  • b.The risk of transmission of STIs is higher in women than men mainly due to biological and socio-cultural factors. Specifically, young women 15 to 24 years old and menopausal women are at higher risk of STIs. This is because young women usually lack comprehensive knowledge of STIs transmission. In addition, the risk of transmission of STIs is higher due to immature and weakened vaginal mucosal lining of young and menopausal women respectively. Also the surface area of the vagina that comes in contact during sexual intercourse is larger than that of the penis and this is associated with an increased risk of transmission. Socio-cultural issues like gender bias, economic dependence, societal values relating to sexuality and harmful traditional practices like female genital mutilation also contribute significantly to the increased risk of STIs in females.

SAQ 31.2 (tests Learning Outcomes 31.3, 31.4 and 31.6)

A 22-year-old young man came to the health post complaining of a yellow urethral discharge with burning pain on urination. He has had these complaints for the past five days.

  • a.What syndrome does this young man present with?
  • b.What will you do?


  • a.The syndrome that this patient appears to have is urethral discharge.
  • b.You need to refer him to the health centre urgently for further care and support. Provider-initiated testing and counselling can also be offered for HIV. You need to ask him about past sexual partner(s) so that they can be traced and encouraged to access screening for HIV or other STIs at the health centre.

SAQ 31.3 (tests Learning Outcome 31.4)

Explain why syndromic management of STIs is a feasible intervention in settings like Ethiopia.


Syndromic management of STIs enables health workers to treat similar causes all together. Syndromic diagnosis leads to immediate treatment for all of the most important causative agents of an STI. This is important because infections by multiple pathogens occur frequently in STIs. Besides, syndromic management can be implemented to effectively treat cases in settings with limited laboratory capacity such as health centres in Ethiopia.

SAQ 31.4 (tests Learning Outcome 31.5)

Explain how the presence of HIV can increase the risk of transmission of other STIs and vice versa.


The following points explain the relationship between HIV and other STIs:

  1. Certain STIs facilitate the transmission of HIV through the small cuts and inflammations they cause around the genitalia.
  2. The presence of HIV can make people more susceptible to the transmission of STIs. This is because HIV weakens the immunity that can protect us from other infections like STIs.
  3. The presence of HIV increases the severity of some STIs and makes them difficult to treat. This is also related to poor immunity in PLHIV.

Summary of Study Session 31