Prevalence and Pattern of Sexually Transmitted Infections/HIV among the High Risk Groups in Dakshina Kannada District (Rural), India
Introduction: Human Deficiency Virus and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) often coexist and share common modes of transmission. High risk groups (HRGs) under National AIDS Control Programme in India include Female Sex Workers (FSWs), Men having Sex with Men (MSMs) and Intravenous Drug Users (IDUs).
Objectives: This study assessed the pattern of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) among the high risk groups including Female Sex Workers (FSWs) and Men Having Sex with Men (MSMs) using the syndromic management approach.
Methodology: STI clinics were conducted on a monthly basis by a NGO working in 100 high risk villages in Dakshina Kannada district. These HRGs were treated using syndromic management for STIs and also provided referral to Integrated Counseling and Testing Centres (ICTCs) for HIV/ AIDS. Syndromic management is a comprehensive approach for STI/RTI control endorsed by the World Health Organization. A questionnaire was used to include the socio-demographic characteristics of HRGs and the diagnoses made. The data sheet did not contain any personal details, maintaining complete anonymity of the study participants. Statistical tests used were proportions to assess proportion and patterns; t-test for difference in proportions among the subgroups of HRGs.
Results: The most common diagnosis was vaginitis followed by urethritis, cervicitis, PID and inguinal bubo. The prevalence of STIs was significantly higher among FSWs than MSMs.
Conclusion: Sexually transmitted infections continue to persist in high risk groups and hence require sustained strategies for prevention under the framework of existing national programmes.