• Health seeking and sexual behaviour in patients with sexually transmitted infections: the importance of traditional healers in Thyolo, Malawi.

      Zachariah, R; Nkhoma, W; Harries, A D; Arendt, V; Chantulo, A; Spielmann M P; Mbereko, M; Buhendwa, L; Médecins Sans Frontières, Luxembourg, Thyolo District, Malawi. msflblantyre@malawi.net (BMJ Journals, 2002-04)
      OBJECTIVES: To describe health seeking and sexual behaviour including condom use among patients presenting with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and, to identify sociodemographic and behavioural risk factors associated with "no condom use" during the symptomatic period. METHODS: A cross sectional study of consecutive new STI cases presenting at the district STI clinic in Thyolo, Malawi. They were interviewed by STI counsellors after obtaining informed consent. All patients were treated according to national guidelines. RESULTS: Out of 498 new STI clients, 53% had taken some form of medication before coming to the STI clinic, the most frequent alternative source being the traditional healer (37%). 46% of all clients reported sex during the symptomatic period (median 14 days), the majority (74%) not using condoms. 90% of all those who had not used condoms resided in villages and had seen only the traditional healer. Significant risk factors associated with "no condom use" included visiting a traditional healer, being female, having less than 8 years of school education, and being resident in villages. Genital ulcer disease (GUD) was the most common STI in males (49%) while in females this comprised 27% of STIs. CONCLUSIONS: These findings, and especially the extremely high GUD prevalence is of particular concern, considering the high national HIV prevalence in Malawi (9%) and the implications for STI and HIV transmission. There is an urgent need to integrate traditional healers in control activities, encourage their role in promoting safer sexual behaviour, and to reorient or even change existing strategies on condom promotion and STI control.
    • HIV and other sexually transmitted infections among female sex workers in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, in 2002.

      Vandepitte, J M; Malele, F; Kivuvu, D M; Edidi, S; Muwonga, J; Lepira, F; Abdellati, S; Kabamba, J; Van Overloop, C; Buvé, A; et al. (2007-04)
      OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence and risk factors of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among female sex workers (FSWs) in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, in 2002. STUDY DESIGN: A cross-sectional study was conducted among FSWs presenting for the first time at the STI clinic of Matonge, Kinshasa. The women were interviewed about sociodemographic characteristics, type of sex work, and sexual behavior. Blood was taken for HIV, syphilis, and herpes simplex virus type 2 serology. Vaginal secretions were collected on swabs for the diagnosis of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis. RESULTS: The overall HIV prevalence was 12.4% but varied within the different categories of FSWs: 11.8% in hotel-based, 24.0% in home-based, and 20.0% in street-based FSWs; 10.0% in homeless FSWs; and 6.6% in Masquées (clandestine sex workers). The overall herpes simplex virus type 2 seroprevalence was 58.5%. CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of HIV and other STIs seems to have stabilized since the beginning of the project in 1988.