Suggested measures to prevent transmission and sequelae of sexually transmitted diseases are almost universally agreed. But the important question to be answered is whether the interventions are worth the resources spent. To facilitate the decision making on resource allocation, the best possible information should be available concerning the relationships between health intervention programs and changes in the health status. Cost benefit analysis is the main approach used to assess the efficiency of any intervention. If the economic benefits of the program are greater than the costs, the program should be seriously considered. Although information about the costs of management of STDs is scarce in developing countries because of the complicated behavioral, social and economic issues involved, it is widely held that making treatment available for curable sexually transmitted diseases represents one of the most cost-effective ways to improve the health in the world. (C) 1999 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.