Acceptability Research on Integrated Point of Care Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Testing and Expedited Partner Therapy (EPT).


Rates of curable sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are escalating globally, particularly in South Africa, where they rank among the highest worldwide. Concurrently, South Africa faces the highest HIV-1 incidence globally, notably among young women aged 15-24. While oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has emerged as a potent tool against HIV-1, it does not safeguard against other STIs, which can heighten vulnerability to HIV-1 infections.

A 2019 WHO technical brief underscored the critical role of PrEP programs in bolstering efforts to combat STIs among high-risk populations, particularly adolescent girls and young women (AGYW). This proposal aligns with global initiatives like the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (goal 3.3) and the South African National Strategic Plan for HIV, Tuberculosis, and STIs 2017-2022 (goal #1), aiming to substantially reduce STIs in key populations.

Our approach focuses on a multidisciplinary strategy integrating point-of-care (POC) diagnostic STI screening with expedited partner therapy (EPT) for AGYW using PrEP for HIV-1 prevention. The insights gleaned from this study will empower clinicians and policymakers to enhance STI screening and treatment protocols, ultimately leading to reduced persistent STI rates and improved sexual reproductive health among AGYW.


  • Wits RHI
  • Prof. Thesla Palanee-Phillips (Co-Principal Investigator)
  • Dr. Nkosiphile Ndlovu (Co-Investigator)
  • Krishnaveni Reddy (Co-Investigator)
  • University of Washington
  • Assistant Prof. Jennifer Balkus (Co-Principal Investigator)
  • Assistant Prof. Jennifer Ross (Co-Investigator)
  • University of California
  • Dr. Jennifer Velloza (Co-Investigator)

Latest Update

March 2024

For more details about ARISE please email

Stay up to date

Get updates on news, resources, events and happenings from Wits RHI.