Awareness of Transmission and Prevention of Sexually-Transmitted Diseases among rural women in Bangladesh
Objective: Study the awareness of sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) among rural women and family planning field workers. Methods: The MCH-FP Extension Project of ICDDR.B works with the Government of Bangladesh, conducting operations research to improve health and family planning service-delivery. A sample of over 6,000 married women of reproductive age in three project sites was surveyed during 1994 to examine their awareness of STDs. Both bivariate and multivariate analyses were done to examine the effects of some socio-demographic factors associated with the awareness of STDs. Family planning workers were interviewed through focus group discussions to determine their attitudes, beliefs, and knowledge about condom use and its effect on STDs. Results: About 30% of the sample women knew about syphilis and/or gonorrhoea. Among them, about 30% stated that syphilis, and 13% stated that gonorrhoea, are transmitted through sexual activities and contact with previously infected persons. The remaining 57% were not aware of the transmission mechanisms. Although condom use was low, 37% of condom users reported that condom use can prevent STDs. Awareness and knowledge of transmission of STDs were significantly higher among educated and relatively older women than others. The focus group discussions indicated that family planning and health care service providers have some knowledge of the mechanism of transmission of STDs. They think that condom use should be promoted as a method of fertility regulation as well as for prevention of STDs. Conclusions: Very little is known about STDs in rural Bangladesh. The incidence of STDs may increase with the increase in employment-related migrations. Findings of the study suggest that health and family planning workers already have some knowledge about STDs, and should undertake activities to provide counselling about the mechanisms of transmission and prevention of STDs.
J Diarrhoeal Dis Res 1995 Mar;13(1):72-73