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Sex Transm Dis. 2003 Mar;30(3):262-5.

Sexual behavior and sexually transmitted infections in men living in rural Madagascar: implications for HIV transmission.

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Institut Pasteur, Antananarivo, Madagascar.



Madagascar is in the midst of a large HIV epidemic. Therefore, it is important to obtain relevant epidemiologic data that can be used to develop a preventive strategy.


The goal of the study was to assess sexual behavior and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among men living in two coastal villages and one highland village with different levels of endemicity of urogenital schistosomiasis.


Data were obtained from cross-sectional studies on male reproductive health. All men aged 15 to 49 years were offered enrollment.


Of 401 men evaluated, 6.5% had used a condom and 45.6% reported having multiple partners in the previous 3 months. Symptoms of urethritis during the previous 7 days were reported by 128 men (31.9%). Urethritis was associated with the youngest age group (15-19 years) and the coastal villages, in which HIV antibodies were found in 0.9% and 2.5%, respectively. The prevalence of Schistosoma hematobium was 31.0% and 55.0% in these two villages, whereas none of the men in the highland village were infected. In bivariate analyses, urogenital schistosomiasis was associated with reported symptoms of urethritis, but it acted as a confounder in multivariate analyses.


Several risk factors for HIV propagation exist in these rural areas in Madagascar. Young men in particular should be targeted for HIV/STI prevention. Treatment of urogenital schistosomiasis could be considered part of the syndromic STI treatment in areas where S hematobium is endemic, for patients seeking primary care for urethritis.

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