Objectives: To investigate the determinants of delay in seeking health care for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) among Vietnamese women attending the National Institute of Dermatology and Venereology (NIDV): to what extent women's socio-demographic backgrounds and their knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) relating to STIs/STI prevention influence their delay in seeking health care for STIs.
Methods: Face-to-face semi-structured interview of sixty women over 18 years old attending the NIDV who were diagnosed with an STI by the clinicians from the NIDV and volunteered to participate in the study. The relationship between demographic and KAP variables and delay (more than 7 days between onset of symptoms and seeking care) and the interval of delay were assessed using Chi-square, Fisher's exact, Mann-Whitney & Kruskal-Wallis tests.
Results: Of those women reporting delay before first seeking care, 82% delayed 7 days or more. Women with lower education and from rural or remote areas waited significantly longer before first seeking care than women with higher education and from urban areas. Women who delayed in seeking care knew significantly less routes of STI transmission and engaged significantly more in sex while symptomatic than women who did not delay in seeking care. No relationships existed between delay behaviours and women's income, age or attitudes toward STIs/STI prevention.
Conclusions: Early health care seeking behaviour for STIs could be facilitated through improving women's basic knowledge regarding STIs, changing their sexual behaviour, and creating a social support environment for early care-seeking.
- delay in seeking care
- health care seeking behaviour