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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 274-278

Need for revisiting the role of sexually transmitted disease clinics in government hospitals in India

Department of Community Health Administration, National Institute of Health and Family Welfare, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Hema Gogia
115, Vasant Enclave, Palam Marg, New Delhi - 110 057
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_295_16

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Introduction: The Government of India provides treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) through government's sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics with the mandate of providing curative and preventive services for clients in the context of STIs. However, besides the patients suffering from STDs, other clients with problems related to reproductive and sexual health also attend these clinics. This study aimed to assess the profile and treatment-seeking behavior of clients attending STD clinics in government hospitals in India. Materials and Methods: This multicentric, cross-sectional study with 5098 participants was conducted over 2 months in identified 19 Indian states. Chi–square test was used for statistical analysis. Results: The percentage with STDs (62.98%) was nearly double than those with non-STDs (37.1%). Around 8.2% of patients had an STD and were also HIV positive. Compared to the total STD cases, only 9% of the partners had turned up for screening. Of significance were the non-STD cases who presented with both physical and psychological symptoms including infertility. Among males, it was mainly sexual dysfunction and balanoposthitis, and in females, lower abdominal pain and bacterial vaginosis. Only 27.3% reported that they had come directly to the government facility/clinic. Nearly 38% of males and 30% of females had tried home remedies before coming to the government clinic. Majority (77.9%) of the clients reported that they had never been counseled on any aspect of STD or HIV. Conclusion: The profile of clients in the various clinics across the country indicates that the name “STD Clinic” is a misnomer since the presenting complaints of clients are varied, and related not only to STDs but also to other reproductive tract problems. Furthermore, the average new patient load observed in our study is low and this was attributed to the name “STDs” given to these clinics. Renaming them as “Reproductive Health Clinics” would attract more patients and lead to better utilization.

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