Introduction Due to low treatment coverage of sexual partners of pregnant women with syphilis in Brazil, this study aims to investigate the perceptions of primary healthcare workers about the calling of these partners for treatment.
Methods This is a descriptive study with qualitative designs conducted in six primary healthcare facilities including those with the highest numbers of pregnant women with syphilis in the city of Fortaleza, Ceará, Brazil. A total of 20 healthcare workers were included (seven physicians and thirteen nurses) and six healthcare unit’s coordinators. The study was performed from June to September 2016 through semi-structured interviews, and content analysis was done.
Results According to interviewed healthcare workers, the calling and treatment of sexual partners of pregnant women with syphilis are complex and challenges activities, especially when they are not from the healthcare unit area or are illicit drug users. They pointed chauvinism as one of the main barriers and gender issues that causes resistance to go to the healthcare units for treatment. Lack of symptoms also makes partners believe they have no infection. There are also marital problems caused by the infection’s diagnosis. The healthcare workers said not to feel able to these types of demands and require training. They believe that higher disclosures in different medias about syphilis and its consequences and “men prenatal care” would be important strategies to improve syphilis treatment coverage.
Conclusion Physicians and nurses in the primary care, as well as health units’ coordinators, have several difficulties for calling and treating sexual partners of pregnant women with syphilis and do not feel able enough to face this problem.
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