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Healthcare-seeking behaviour of people with sexually transmitted infection symptoms attending a Sexual Health Clinic in New Zealand

Healthcare-seeking behaviour of people with sexually transmitted infection symptoms attending a Sexual Health Clinic in New Zealand
Healthcare-seeking behaviour of people with sexually transmitted infection symptoms attending a Sexual Health Clinic in New Zealand
Background: untreated sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can lead to serious health complications and may be transmitted to uninfected individuals. Therefore, the early detection and subsequent management of STIs is crucial to control efforts. Time to presentation for STI symptoms and risk of transmission in this period has not been assessed in New Zealand to date.

Methods: all new clients presenting to an urban sexual health clinic (SHC) were invited to complete a questionnaire, which included demographic information, sexual health history, and details about the clinic visit.

Results: of 331 people approached, 243 (73.4%) agreed to complete the questionnaire. Four incomplete questionnaires were excluded, leaving 239 participants (47.3% female and 52.7% male, 43.8% under the age of 25). The most common reason for seeking healthcare was experiencing symptoms (39.4%) and 41.7% of people with symptoms waited more than seven days to seek healthcare. Around a third (30.6%) of people with symptoms had sex after they first thought they may need to seek healthcare. Infrequent condom use was reported more often by people who had sex with existing partners (84.6%) than by people who had sex with new partners (10.0%).

Conclusions: this is the first study to quantify healthcare-seeking behaviour for STI in New Zealand. Delayed healthcare-seeking (defined as waiting more than seven days) was common and almost a third of people reported engaging in sex while symptomatic. Enabling prompt healthcare-seeking is crucial to minimise transmission risk. Structural barriers such as the financial cost of STI tests must be removed and education around symptom recognition and healthcare system navigation should be provided.
0028-8446
40-49
Denison, H.J.
509f3f73-6d4e-4604-a8ea-c5e3a1604e2f
Woods, L.
4fe24e77-52f1-4c37-8625-00c5dc5345f8
Bromhead, Collette
f72a8ee3-2d85-4308-a689-1bca8e5b5ed8
Kennedy, J.
5cee1dd0-290d-41e5-91a6-5f3ebd3dc5bb
Grainger, Rebecca
16826e50-56c6-4544-92d6-0fe47e878095
Jutel, Annemarie
f35a01d6-b4a8-4cbd-9ea1-fb8f9131af31
Dennison, Elaine
ee647287-edb4-4392-8361-e59fd505b1d1
Denison, H.J.
509f3f73-6d4e-4604-a8ea-c5e3a1604e2f
Woods, L.
4fe24e77-52f1-4c37-8625-00c5dc5345f8
Bromhead, Collette
f72a8ee3-2d85-4308-a689-1bca8e5b5ed8
Kennedy, J.
5cee1dd0-290d-41e5-91a6-5f3ebd3dc5bb
Grainger, Rebecca
16826e50-56c6-4544-92d6-0fe47e878095
Jutel, Annemarie
f35a01d6-b4a8-4cbd-9ea1-fb8f9131af31
Dennison, Elaine
ee647287-edb4-4392-8361-e59fd505b1d1

Denison, H.J., Woods, L., Bromhead, Collette, Kennedy, J., Grainger, Rebecca, Jutel, Annemarie and Dennison, Elaine (2018) Healthcare-seeking behaviour of people with sexually transmitted infection symptoms attending a Sexual Health Clinic in New Zealand. The New Zealand Medical Journal, 131 (1481), 40-49.

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background: untreated sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can lead to serious health complications and may be transmitted to uninfected individuals. Therefore, the early detection and subsequent management of STIs is crucial to control efforts. Time to presentation for STI symptoms and risk of transmission in this period has not been assessed in New Zealand to date.

Methods: all new clients presenting to an urban sexual health clinic (SHC) were invited to complete a questionnaire, which included demographic information, sexual health history, and details about the clinic visit.

Results: of 331 people approached, 243 (73.4%) agreed to complete the questionnaire. Four incomplete questionnaires were excluded, leaving 239 participants (47.3% female and 52.7% male, 43.8% under the age of 25). The most common reason for seeking healthcare was experiencing symptoms (39.4%) and 41.7% of people with symptoms waited more than seven days to seek healthcare. Around a third (30.6%) of people with symptoms had sex after they first thought they may need to seek healthcare. Infrequent condom use was reported more often by people who had sex with existing partners (84.6%) than by people who had sex with new partners (10.0%).

Conclusions: this is the first study to quantify healthcare-seeking behaviour for STI in New Zealand. Delayed healthcare-seeking (defined as waiting more than seven days) was common and almost a third of people reported engaging in sex while symptomatic. Enabling prompt healthcare-seeking is crucial to minimise transmission risk. Structural barriers such as the financial cost of STI tests must be removed and education around symptom recognition and healthcare system navigation should be provided.

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Denison et al. Healthcare-seeking behaviour_NZMJ_10.08.18 - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 18 August 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 31 August 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 425583
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/425583
ISSN: 0028-8446
PURE UUID: 62c4e8db-4f26-4b2a-9ebe-3181992bde9c
ORCID for Elaine Dennison: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3048-4961

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Date deposited: 25 Oct 2018 16:30
Last modified: 10 Dec 2019 01:54

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