Sexually transmitted infections among patients attending the General Practice Clinic, Wesley Guild Hospital, Ilesa, Nigeria
Background: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are among the most common infectious diseases in the world today. There are few reliable statistics on the true prevalence of STIs in developing countries, especially in the general practice setting, hence the need to determine the prevalence in each locality. With the scourge and pandemicity of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the fact that STIs are recognised as independent risk factors for its transmission, determining the risk profiles for STIs has become paramount. The aim of this study was to describe the pattern of STIs among patients attending a Nigerian general practice (GP) clinic.
Methods: This was a descriptive, cross-sectional, hospital-based study. Consenting patients were recruited serially between February and April 2006 until the sample size of 415 was reached. Subjects’ genital symptoms were considered according to the four common STI syndromes according to National AIDS/STD Control Programme guidelines. Results: The age range of the subjects was 15 to 95 years (mean 45.16 years, standard deviation 18.83 years, median 44 years). The median age at coitarche was 21 years while the median age at marriage was 25 years. The prevalence rates of current, past and lifetime STI were 18.8%, 22.4% and 32% respectively. Only 28 (6.8%) study subjects had laboratory evidence of STIs at the time of study. Previous sex with a commercial sex worker, previous history of STIs, premarital sex, first intercourse before or at 21 years of age and multiple sexual partners were significantly associated with STIs. Previous history of STIs was a strong predictor of current STI in this study while premarital sex and previous sex with a commercial sex worker were strong predictors of past STI. The frequency of HIV infection among subjects with STIs was more than double that of the control and a co-infection rate of 17.9% was found. Conclusions: The findings of this study indicate a high prevalence of STIs in the study community in association with prevailing high sexual risk behaviours, hence the need for reliable control programmes targeting the latter.
Keywords: sexually transmitted infections; sexual behaviour; premarital sex; HIV; prevalence; general practice