Objectives: To investigate the level of different categories of sexually transmitted infections (STI) knowledge and their impact on practice of risky sexual behaviours and HIV transmission in rural Kilimanjaro Tanzania.
Methods: A cross-sectional study including all individuals aged 15-44 years living in Oria village, Kahe ward was conducted between March and May of 2005. All consenting individuals were interviewed and offered HIV testing.
Results: The response proportion was 73.0% (1528/2093). Overall knowledge of STI was 38.6%. Having a casual partner (59.4%) and multiple sexual partners (50.6%) were mentioned as the most potential sources of STI. Genital ulcers and vaginal discharge were the predominant symptoms noted while abstinence and condom use were the preferred preventive measures. Knowledge of STI complications including HIV transmission was very low (22.0%) in this community. The low knowledge of STI complications was significantly associated with recent (past 4 weeks) practice of multiple sexual partners (Adjusted odds ratio (AOR), 2.4, 95% Confidence interval (CI): 1.1-8.7), not using condom with casual partners (AOR, 2.7, 95%CI: 1.2-7.5) and HIV serostatus (AOR, 3.4, 95%CI: 1.8-14.5).
Conclusions: Overall STI knowledge and its linkage to HIV transmission was alarmingly low in this community. Knowledge of STI complication may play an important role in inducing safer sexual behaviours and hence HIV prevention. Interventions addressing HIV/STI knowledge should put more emphasis on raising awareness on complications as this may play a major role in HIV/STI prevention.
- HIV-1 infection
- Risky sexual behaviours
- Rural Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
- Sexually transmitted infections
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