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Sexually transmitted infections: Prevalence, knowledge and treatment practices among female sex workers in a cosmopolitan city in Nigeria

Adekemi O Sekoni, Oluwakemi O. Odukoya, Adebayo T. Onajole, Kofoworola A. Odeyemi

Abstract

Sexually transmitted infections constitute economic burden for developing countries, exposure to causative agents is an occupational hazard for female sex workers. Targeted interventions for this population can reduce the incidence and prevalence of sexually transmitted infections including human immunodeficiency virus, but barriers exists which can hinder effective implementation of such programs. This descriptive cross sectional study sought to assess the prevalence, knowledge and treatment practices of sexually transmitted infections among brothel based female sex workers Three hundred and twenty three consenting female sex workers were surveyed using pre tested, interviewer administered questionnaires. More than half of the respondents (54.2%) had poor knowledge of symptoms of sexually transmitted infections. Only 13.9% were aware that sexually transmitted infections could be asymptomatic. The self reported prevalence of symptomatic sexually transmitted infections was 36.5%. About half of those with sexually transmitted infectionss sought treatment in a hospital or health centre while 32.5% from a patent medicine vendor. Most respondents (53.8%) mentioned the perceived quality of care as the main reason for seeking treatment in their chosen place. More of the respondents with good knowledge of sexually transmitted infections reported symptoms compared to those with fair and poor knowledge. The knowledge of sexually transmitted infections among these female sex workers is poor and the prevalence is relatively high. Efforts to improve knowledge promote and encourage preventive as well as effective treatment practices must be made for this population.  (Afr J Reprod Health 2013; 17[1]: 94-102).

Résumé

Les infections sexuellement transmissibles constituent un fardeau économique pour les pays en développement et l'exposition aux agents pathogènes est un risque professionnel pour les prostituées. Les interventions qui visent cette population peuvent réduire l'incidence et la prévalence des infections sexuellement transmissibles, y compris le virus de l'immunodéficience humaine, mais il existe des obstacles qui peuvent entraver la mise en œuvre effective de ces programmes. Cette étude descriptive transversale a cherché à évaluer les pratiques de la prévalence, la connaissance et le traitement des infections sexuellement transmissibles chez les prostituées qui pratiquent leur métier dans des bordels. Trois cent vingt-trois prostituées consentants  ont été interrogées à l'aide des questionnaires déjà testés et administrés par l’intervieweur. Plus de la moitié des interviewées (54,2%) avaient une mauvaise connaissance des symptômes des infections sexuellement transmissibles. Seulement 13,9% étaient au courant que les infections sexuellement transmissibles peuvent être asymptomatiques. La prévalence  des symptômes d'infections sexuellement transmissibles auto signalés était de 36,5%. Environ la moitié de ceux qui sont atteints des infections sexuellement transmissibles  ont recherché un traitement dans un centre hospitalier ou dans un centre de santé tandis que 32,5% le recherchaient auprès d'un vendeur des médicaments brevetés. La plupart des interviewées  (53,8%) ont mentionné la qualité perçue des soins comme la principale raison pour se faire soigner dans les lieux  choisis. Beaucoup d’interviewées qui ont une bonne connaissance des infections sexuellement transmissibles ont signalé des symptômes par rapport à ceux qui les connaissent passablement ou mal. La connaissance des infections sexuellement transmissibles chez les prostituées est mauvaise et la prévalence est relativement élevée. Il faut faire des efforts pour améliorer les connaissances, pour promouvoir et pour encourager la prévention ainsi que les pratiques de traitement efficaces  à l’intérêt de cette population (Afr J Reprod Health 2013; 17[1]: 94-102).

Keywords: Symptomatic STIs, Patent medicine vendor, Brothels

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