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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


CARRET, Maria Laura Vidal et al. Sexually transmitted diseases symptoms in adults: prevalence and risk factors. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2004, vol.38, n.1, pp.76-84. ISSN 1518-8787.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the prevalence of sexually transmitted disease (STD) symptoms and associated risk factors in an adult population. METHODS: A population-based cross-sectional study was conducted among residents of the metropolitan area of Pelotas, Brazil. Subjects were 20 years old or more. A self-administered questionnaire was used to gather information about sexual behavior and STD symptoms. Multivariate analysis was undertaken using logistic regression. RESULTS: The prevalence of STDs was 13.5%. A higher risk of STDs was found in non-white younger women with more sexual partners and who did not use condoms in their last sexual relationship. Among men, early initiation of sexual activity and anal sex were positively associated with the outcome. Higher risks were found among women with lower schooling. CONCLUSIONS: The present study identified a significant prevalence of STD symptoms in this population and showed differences in risk factors according to gender. Since many STDs are asymptomatic and symptomatic cases are often either not perceived as disease by patients or not diagnosed in health services, the actual prevalence may be even greater. The study results suggest that cohabitation with a sexual partner does not reduce the risk of STDs in this population and showed sex differences for risk factors, both of which should be taken into account while approaching this issue.

Keywords : Sexually transmitted diseases; Epidemiology; Cross-sectional studies; Adults and elderly.

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