The costs of treating curable sexually transmitted infections in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review

Sex Transm Dis. 2006 Oct;33(10 Suppl):S153-66. doi: 10.1097/01.olq.0000235177.30718.84.


Background: Calls for increased investment in sexually transmitted infection (STI) treatment across the developing world have been made to address the high disease burden and the association with HIV transmission.

Goals: The goals of this study were to systematically review evidence on the cost of treating curable STIs and to explore its key determinants.

Study: A search of published literature was conducted in PubMed and supplemented by reviews of gray literature. Studies were analyzed by broad focus. Regression analysis explored how intervention characteristics affect unit costs, accounting for differences in costing methods.

Results: Fifty-three primary studies were identified, of which 62% used empirical data, 35% presented economic costs, and 22% presented full costs. The median STI treatment cost was US dollars 17.80. Clinics serving symptomatic patients were consistently cheaper than outreach services, services using syndromic management protocols had lower costs, and unit costs decreased with scale.

Conclusions: The compiled cost data provide an evidence base that can be used to help inform resource planning.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Africa South of the Sahara
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Asia
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Developing Countries / economics*
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Peru
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / drug therapy
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / economics*


  • Anti-Infective Agents