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Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care. 2010 Aug;15(4):255-63. doi: 10.3109/13625187.2010.497232.

Perspectives of African and Brazilian immigrant women on sexual and reproductive health.

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Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, New University of Lisbon, Portugal.



To explore attitudes and experiences related to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) of African and Brazilian immigrant women in Portugal.


Focus groups were conducted with 35 immigrant women with low income living in Lisbon, chosen through purposive sampling. Discussions were audio-taped and transcribed, and analysed through content analysis procedure.


Compared to the Brazilian women, most Africans lacked knowledge and had more negative attitudes toward contraceptive methods, which adversely affected their proper use. African women were also less knowledgeable on sexually transmitted infections (STIs); some of them considered that their vulnerability to STIs was related to their partners' sexual risk behaviours. Nevertheless, a few Africans held less traditional attitudes toward condom use and appeared to have greater control over their sexual behaviour and STI prevention. Focus group discussions brought to light that cultural background often shapes women's desires concerning maternity. The participants' statements highlight the interaction between economic and social factors that affect immigrants and play an important role in their reproductive health.


This study illustrates the importance of developing holistic and tailored interventions for SRH promotion among immigrant women, whereby the differences and specific needs of each group need to be taken into consideration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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