Community based study of sexually transmitted diseases in rural women in the highlands of Papua New Guinea: prevalence and risk factors

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Abstract

Objective

To estimate the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and determine their risk factors/markers among a rural population of women in the highlands of Papua New Guinea.

Methods

Community based random cluster sample of women of reproductive age were interviewed and examined and had specimens collected for laboratory confirmation of chlamydial and trichomonal infection, gonorrhoea, syphilis, and bacterial vaginosis.

Results

Chlamydia trachomatis was detected in 26%, Trichomonas vaginalis in 46%, Neisseria gonorrhoeae in 1%, syphilis in 4%, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) (diagnosed clinically) in 14%, and bacterial vaginosis in 9% of 201 women. 59% of the women had at least one STD. In a multivariate logistic regression analysis taking the clustered sampling into account, independent risk factors for chlamydial infection were age Conclusion

STDs are a major problem in this population, with the risk factors varying by outcome. Current treatment regimens are inappropriate given the high prevalence of trichomonal infection, and the available services are inadequate. Effective interventions are required urgently to reduce this burden and to prevent the rapid transmission of HIV.

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