Objective: To investigate the sexual and STI treatment seeking behaviour of long distance transport workers in East Africa
Methods: A health seeking behavior survey was carried out at 4 sites on the Mombasa-Kampala trans- Africa highway (n=381). The questionnaires probed details of STI knowledge, symptoms and care seeking behavior. In one site at the Kenya-Uganda border a sexual patterning matrix was used (n=202) to measure sexual behavior in truck drivers and their assistants over the 12 month period prior to interview.
Results: Over one half of the sexual acts of long distance transport workers over 12 months were with FSWs, with an annual average of 2.8 sexual partners. Condom use was reported at 70% for liaisons with casual partners,.Fifteen percent of truckers had had a self- reported STI and one-third exhibited high risk sexual behavior in the previous year. Eighty five percent of those with an STI had symptoms when on the road and 77.2% sought treatment within one week of symptoms starting. Ninety-four percent of drivers and 56% of assistants sought STI treatment in a private health facility or pharmacy. The cost of private facilities and pharmacies was not significantly higher than in the public sector. Waiting times were three times longer in the public sector. Only 28.9% of patients completed their medication courses as prescribed.
Conclusions: Truck drivers and their assistants in East Africa have high rates of reported sexually transmitted infections and many continue to exhibit high- risk sexual behavior. The transport workers studied here favored private health facilities due to convenience and shorter waiting times.
- health seeking behavior
- sexual behavior
- truck drivers