Postgrad Med J 81:299-301 doi:10.1136/pgmj.2004.026039
  • Review

Primary prevention of sexually transmitted disease: applying the ABC strategy

  1. S J Genuis1,
  2. S K Genuis2
  1. 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Alberta, Canada
  2. 2Research Librarian, Alberta, Canada
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr S J Genuis
 2935-66 Street, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6K 4C1;
  • Received 24 June 2004
  • Accepted 5 August 2004


Escalating rates of sexually transmitted disease (STD) in many areas of the world necessitate a re-evaluation of current public health STD preventive programmes. Pervasive long term sequelae for many STD afflicted people and the emerging threat, caused by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, to some national infrastructures, suggests that ongoing initiatives focusing primarily on risk reduction through barrier protection have not met their desired objective. Recent strategies to promote non-coital sexual involvement as a means of achieving STD reduction fail to address the transmission of infection that may occur through alternative non-intercourse sexual activities. The demonstrated success of the innovative, comprehensive ABC strategy shows that while risk reduction and treatment of existing infection remain important, the promotion of optimal health may be achieved more effectively through broad based comprehensive and adaptable programmes that include an emphasis on risk avoidance through delayed sexual debut and partner reduction.


  • Dr Stephen J Genuis served as Co-Director of Medical Services at a hospital in Cameroon. Shelagh K Genuis writes on topics related to information and health. SJG and SKG recently coauthored Teen Sex: Reality Check. Both authors were involved in the preparation of this paper.

  • Funding: none.

  • Conflicts of interest: none.

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