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AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2009 Jun;23(6):443-8. doi: 10.1089/apc.2008.0204.

Self-reported sexually transmitted disease symptoms and treatment-seeking behaviors in China.

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  • 1Fujian Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Fuzhou, China.


In recent decades, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have reemerged and spread as a major public health problem in China. However, little effort has been made on promoting appropriate health-seeking behaviors among people living with STDs. A randomly selected sample of market vendors in Fuzhou (N = 4510) was recruited and assessed from 2003 to 2004 to examine their choice of pharmacy versus hospital, and folk remedy versus Western medicine when having STD symptoms. Approximately 11.3% of the sample (4.0% of men and 17.8% of women) reported having had abnormal genital discharge or genital ulcer during the past 6 months. More (over 60%) people chose Chinese folk remedy to treat symptoms or prevent transmission when they had genital discharge and/or genital ulcer. Approximately 30% of study participants with reported STD symptoms visited pharmacies only to seek treatment, and 17% visited neither hospital nor pharmacies. Visiting a pharmacy only for STD treatment was marginally significantly associated with being female (prevalence ratio [PR] = 1.665, confidence interval [CI] = 0.980, 2.831) and never married (PR = 1.984, CI = 1.098, 3.594) after controlling for other potential confounders. Education about appropriate health-seeking behaviors to obtain effective treatment of STD must be a top priority to control the rapid spread of STDs in China.

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