Document Type

Article

Department

Community Health Sciences

Abstract

Objectives: To understand women's perceptions and health seeking behavior and the association between vaginal discharge, clinical signs and laboratory findings as a presentation of sexually transmitted diseases (STD).Methods: We conducted five focus group discussions with women attending the outpatient department in a large public hospital in Katmandu, Nepal, during May-June 1997. We also interviewed seventy women presenting with vaginal discharge to the same hospital, through structured questionnaire. Women presenting with discharge were also examined and investigated for six common sexually transmitted diseases and reproductive tract infections.Results: In the focus groups vaginal discharge was identified as a common disease distinct from STDs, for which women can seek treatment. STDs were considered as social diseases transmitted to women through multiple sexual partners and not from husband. Patients with vaginal discharge preferred traditional healers and pharmacist. Clinical signs were inconclusive for type of infection. Simple laboratory tests identified etiologic agent in 64 (91%) patients and the three commonest infections were Moniliasis (78%), Bacterial Vaginosis (25%) and Trichomoniasis (17%).CONCLUSION: Vaginal discharge may be used as a risk marker for identification of STDs by Primary Health Workers. Low cost investigations should be made available at the secondary care level for identification of most common Reproductive Tract Infections. Communication campaigns should target the misconceptions that exist in the communities local context related to the prevention, treatment and control of vaginal discharge and STDs.

Publication

Journal of Pakistan Medical Association

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