A study released Tuesday by Brazil's Health Ministry finds some 10.3 million Brazilians are or have been infected with an STD at some point in their lives. Of these, 6.6 million are men and 3.7 million are women.
"We are talking about the diseases which, in most cases, are curable, but are still very much present in the society," said Health Minister Jose Gomes Temporao.
The study found that 18 percent of men and 11.4 percent of women who show STD symptoms do not seek any treatment. Among men who do seek treatment of some sort, 25 percent rely on self-medication rather than going to a health care professional. Among their female counterparts, 99 percent go to a doctor.
"I am already becoming annoying for saying that men do not take care of themselves, but the numbers prove it," said Temporao. "Men do not seek medical help as they should."
However, the minister acknowledged that STD-infected Brazilians who do seek medical help are frequently not receiving appropriate treatment. Just 30 percent of men and 31.7 percent of women seeking medical care were told to take an HIV test.
In response to high STD rates, the Health Ministry has launched a nationwide education campaign. The prevention effort, which mostly targets men, will also stress the importance of disclosing an infection to a potential or current partner.