Married Saudi Arabian Women’s Attitudes and Knowledge Concerning Sexually Transmitted Infections
Background: Although the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) began surveillance for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission in 1984, STI-related incidence and prevalence rates are unavailable for the larger Saudi population, and more specifically, for married Saudi Arabian women. Studies show that married Saudi Arabian women are at risk of contracting STIs from their husbands, but studies regarding married Saudi Arabian Women’s STI-related knowledge and attitudes are lacking because there is no valid and reliable quantitative measurement instrument available. The aims of this qualitative study were to explore the perceptions of married Saudi Arabian women’s knowledge and attitudes about the risk of becoming infected with STIs, and to generate themes needed to guide the development of a valid and reliable quantitative instrument that is culturally appropriate and gender-specific for married Saudi Arabian women.
Methods: A grounded theory (GT) approach was used for data collection, guided by Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model. Married Saudi Arabian women over age 18 who had been living in the United States (US) for less than 18 months underwent private interviews about STI-related knowledge and attitudes. Themes resulting from the GT analysis were assembled into a framework.
Results: Twelve participants were interviewed before saturation of themes was reached. The 153 codes identified were categorized and assembled into a hierarchical thematic framework. Eight themes pertinent to STI-related knowledge and attitudes were uncovered.
Discussion: The results revealed that Saudi Arabian married women are aware that they are lacking knowledge about STIs, and would like more education and resources to provide this information. In addition, these women were concerned about prevention and treatment of STIs, not only personally, but in the community at large. The results of this study will be used as a basis to develop a quantitative instrument that focus on measuring the STI-related knowledge and attitudes of married Saudi Arabian women.