Background and Objectives: Self-treatment for sexually transmitted diseases (STD) is common, but little studied, in Thailand, and its influence on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is unknown. Goals: To assess STD self-treatment and self-prophylaxis behaviors as well as HIV risks and serostatus among northern Thai men. Study Design: Cross-sectional report from a cohort of military conscripts (N = 869). HIV and STD seroprevalence and reported risk behaviors, including STD history and antibiotic self-treatment, were obtained. Associations between STDs and self-treatment or prophylaxis and HIV infection were analyzed using t-tests, odds ratios, and logistic regression. Results: The prevalence rate for HIV was 12.3%, and for syphilis it was 2.2%. Men who were seropositive for HIV were more likely to report having sex with commercial sex workers (OR 9.1), to have had an STD (OR 5.96), and to report inconsistent condom use with commercial sex workers (OR 3.13). Of 282 men reporting any STD, 65.2% treated themselves with antibiotics, and 8.5% used them before commercial sex. Among those who frequented commercial sex workers, 98.7% took preventive steps after sex by increasing urine output (69.2%), washing the genital area (28.9%), and using antibiotics (0.9%). Men reporting STD self-treatment were less likely to be HIV infected (OR 0.53; 95% CI 0.31, 0.93). Conclusions: These men are attempting to prevent HIV and STDs. Self-treatment with antibiotics may lower HIV risks associated with bacterial STD in a high-prevalence population.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases