Reproductive Tract Infections
Reproductive tract infections (RTis) have become a silent epidemic that is devastating women's lives. Each year, thousands of women die needlessly from the consequences of these infections, including cervical cancer, ectopic pregnancy, acute and chronic infections of the uterus and the fallopian tubes, and puerperal infections. For many women, this happens because they receive medical attention too late, if at all. The terrible irony of this tragedy is that early diagnosis of and treatment for many RTis do not require high-technology health care. For the hundreds of millions of women with chronic RTis acquired from their sexual partners, life can become a living hell. Infection is a major cause of infertility, and it leads to scorn and rejection in many countries. These women may experience constant pain, have festering lesions of the genital tract, be at enhanced risk of second ary diseases, and endure social ostracism. The problems associated with RT!s have grown even greater in the past decade with the emergence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and AIDS. Preexisting sexually transmitted disease, particularly when associated with genital tract ulcers, raises women's vulnerability to the transmission of HIV 3-5 fold.