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Coll Antropol. 2010 Jun;34(2):509-13.

Risk behavior of customers in centers for free voluntary HIV counselling and testing in two Croatian cities--Osijek and Zadar.

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Department of Epidemiology, Institute of Public Health for the Osijek-Baranja County, Osijek, Croatia.


The primary goal of this research is to compare risks and occurrence of HIV infection in Osijek-Baranja and Zadar County. Several chosen socioeconomic factors controlled by sex and age were investigated including level of education, employment and marital status of the free-of charge voluntary counseling and testing center (VCT) customers in the towns of Osijek and Zadar and their risk behaviors for acquiring HIV. Bivariate analysis of the differences between the customers from Osijek and Zadar showed statistically significant differences in the following variables: gender, education, number of VCT clients who use intravenous drugs (IDU), promiscuous behavior, number of homosexual clients, mode of receiving information on the VCT services, marital and partnership status, having children, inclination towards homosexual and bisexual relations, the main reasons for not using condoms, injecting drugs (IDU) needle sharing and the occurrence of hepatitis C. The analysis showed that significantly more males were counseled and tested in the city of Osijek, significantly less hepatitis C positive persons and promiscuity among all behavioral risk factors more often. A higher number of the customers of the VCT in the city of Osjek were "in permanent" relationship. Strategic management of health and health care, methods of comparing regional and national standardized indicators can provide valuable information about setting the focus, choosing priorities and establishing a good economic policy at the micro level. This study clearly established the dimensions of problems in HIV/AIDS prevention onto which it should be influenced through regional and local measures and actions. The indexes measured indicate which special initiatives and programs should be focused and set up as priorities in particular regions. The determined differences point to the need for a regional approach to HIV/AIDS prevention in purpose of improving preventive activities according to most common risk behaviors. Even though Croatia is a relatively small country, it has many regional and local features which need to be taken into consideration when developing prevention programs and activities.

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