Treatment for syphilis in antenatal care: Compliance with the three dose standard treatment regimen

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Background: In South Africa, three doses of benzathine penicillin 2.4 MU at weekly intervals are recommended for treating syphilis in pregnancy. Limited information is available on compliance with the recommended regimen, in terms of time to starting treatment, number of doses, and timing of treatment. Methods: The study was conducted to establish the degree of compliance with treatment for syphilis. Timing of treatment and the titres of the rapid plasma reagin (RPR) positive women were recorded. A retrospective record review was conducted of 18 128 antenatal records. These were records of women attending antenatal care clinics in a tertiary hospital catchment area in KwaZulu Natal between February 2001 and January 2002. Results: Treatment patterns showed that 15.9% received no treatment, 13.2% one dose, 5.8% received two doses, and 64.8% received three doses. In total, 188 women (1.03%) were found to be RPR positive. Of these 30% were found to be high titre positives (titre ≥1:8). Conclusion: Completed treatment was significantly associated with age of gestation at first visit (p = 0.029), with women attending later in pregnancy less likely to receive all three doses of treatment.






Frontiers in Reproductive Health