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Healthcare-seeking behaviours for sexually transmitted infections among women attending the National Institute of Dermatology and Venereology in Vietnam

Abstract

Objectives: To investigate the determinants of delay in seeking healthcare for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among Vietnamese women attending the National Institute of Dermatology and Venereology (NIDV), through assessing to what extent women’s sociodemographic backgrounds and their knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) relating to STIs/STI prevention influence their delay in seeking healthcare for STIs.

Methods: A face-to-face semistructured interview of 60 women over 18 years old attending the NIDV, who were diagnosed with an STI by clinicians from the NIDV and volunteered to participate in the study. The relationship between demographic and KAP variables and delay (7 days or more between onset of symptoms and seeking care) and the interval of delay were assessed using χ2, Fisher’s exact, Mann–Whitney U and Kruskal–Wallis tests.

Results: : Of those women reporting delay before first seeking care, 82% delayed by ⩾7 days. Women with lower education and from rural or remote areas waited significantly longer before first seeking care than those 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 having symptoms than women who did not delay in seeking care. No relationships existed between delay behaviours and women’s income, age or attitudes towards STIs/STI prevention.

Conclusions: Early healthcare-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.

  • KAP, knowledge, attitudes and practice
  • NIDV, National Institute of Dermatology and Venereology
  • STI, sexually transmitted infection
  • VNA, Vietnam dong
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