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Medical News

Sexual and Treatment-Seeking Behavior for Sexually Transmitted Infection in Long-Distance Transport Workers of East Africa

August 2, 2007

The sexual and STD treatment-seeking behaviors of long-distance transport workers in East Africa were examined in the current study.

A health-seeking behavior survey was conducted at four sites on the Mombassa-Kampala trans-Africa highway (n=381). The questionnaires assessed respondents' knowledge of STDs and their symptoms and treatment-seeking behavior. At one site on the Kenya-Uganda border, a sexual patterning matrix was used (n=202) to measure sexual behavior of truck drivers and their assistants during the 12 months before assessment.

The long-distance transport workers reported an average of 2.8 sexual partners, more than half of whom were sex workers. Condom use was reported with 70 percent of encounters with casual partners. One-third of the truckers had participated in high-risk sexual behavior during the prior year, and 15 percent had had a self-reported STD. Of those with an STD, 85 percent experienced symptoms while on the road, and 77.2 percent had presented for treatment within one week of symptoms' onset.

For treatment, 94 percent of drivers and 56 percent of assistants turned to a private health facility or a pharmacy. The cost of accessing services in these facilities was not significantly more than the cost of services in the public sector, where waiting times were reportedly three times longer. Only 28.9 percent said they completed the full course of prescribed medications.

"Truck drivers and their assistants in East Africa have high rates of reported [STDs] and many continue to exhibit high-risk sexual behavior," the authors concluded. "The transport workers studied here favored private health facilities because of convenience and shorter waiting times."

Back to other news for August 2007

Adapted from:
Sexually Transmitted Infections
06.2007; Vol. 83: P. 242-245; Chester N. Morris; Alan G. Ferguson

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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