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Why do people delay obtaining treatment for an STD? Perspectives from a developing country

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Eighty-four consecutive clients at an urban clinic in Zimbabwe, who were seeking treatment for suspected STDs, were interviewed to ascertain the barriers and triggers which guided their behaviour. Most respondents regarded having an STD as a serious problem, and were aware of the efficacy of condoms in protecting them from STDs; nevertheless, very few reported using condoms regularly. Knowledge of STDs was patchy, with very few showing an understanding that they may be asymptomatic. The main trigger for attendance was the presence of debilitating symptoms. Men were significantly more likely than women to have visited the clinic for STD treatment on a previous occasion. Most had tried some form of self-treatment before attending; relatively few reported consulting a traditional healer. The cost of treatment was a clear barrier to attendance for a number of respondents.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 1999

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