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Gender differences in the well-being of patients diagnosed with Chlamydia trachomatis: a cross-sectional study

Abstract

Objectives We aimed to investigate how an infection with Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) influenced patients’ well-being and whether there were differences due to gender, age or relationship status, in an effort to strengthen preventive measures and provide better healthcare for patients with CT.

Methods Patients diagnosed with CT in the county of Västerbotten, Sweden, were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their feelings, thoughts and actions after CT diagnosis. The patients were also asked to fill in the validated questionnaires Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test. Between February 2015 and January 2017, 128 patients (74 women and 54 men) were included in the study.

Results After being diagnosed with CT, men were generally less worried than women (P<0.001). Women worried more about not being able to have children (P<0.001) and about having other STIs (P=0.001) than men did. Men felt less angry (P=0.001), less bad (P<0.001), less dirty (P<0.001) and less embarrassed (P=0.011) than women did. Nineteen per cent of men and 48% of women reported symptoms of anxiety. The majority of both men (60%) and women (72%) had a risk consumption of alcohol.

Conclusion Women and men reacted differently when diagnosed with CT. Women worried more about complications and more often blamed themselves for being infected. Being aware of these gender differences may be important when planning preventive measures and during counselling of CT-infected patients. Persons working with patients with CT must also be aware of the high frequency of harmful alcohol consumption among their patients.

  • chlamydia infection
  • gender
  • sexual health
  • chlamydia trachomatis
  • attitudes

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