Self- treatment patterns among clients attending sexually transmitted disease clinics and the effect of self-treatment on STD symptom duration

Debra E. Irwin, James C. Thomas, Christopher E. Spitters, Peter A. Leone, Janice D. Stratton, David H. Martin, Jonathan M. Zenilman, Jane R. Schwebke, Edward W. Hook, Elizabeth B. Andrews, L. Gray Davis, Hugh H. Tilson, Mary Ann Mowat, Alice White, Monika Stender, Jeff Johnston, Michael Miles, Vanessa Williams, Bob Davis, Linda PhillipsNancy Girzaitis, Dee Connors, Kellie Souza, Gerald Garrett, Debbie Caporuscio, Donna Clover, Edith Parker, Gil Munoz, Robert Gunn, Sara Stratton, Debbie Hollis, Martha Monnett, Kristi Foster, Barbara Armentor, Barbara Pare, Sherell Jackson, Jay Nobel, Masai Ehehosi, Rosalie Cyrier, Brenda Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To assess patterns of self-treatment and its effects on the duration of sexually transmitted disease (STD) symptoms before medical care. Methods: A cross-sectional interview survey in public STD clinics (7 U.S. cities). Patients, seeking treatment for STD symptoms or having a known infected sexual contact, reported self-treatment behaviors and symptom duration. Additional data were abstracted from medical charts. Results: Self- treatment, primarily over-the-counter topical medications 154.8%), was reported by 21.8% of 2,508 symptomatic patients. Self-treaters were significantly more likely to be African-American (odds ratio [OR] = 1.8), female (OR = 1.7), over age 30 (OR = 1.3), report >1 symptom (OR = 1.4), and report a genital lesion (OR = 2.1). Symptom duration was 2 days longer among self-treaters (p < 0.01). African-Americans (OR = 1.5), men (OR = 1.2), and self-treaters of symptoms other than genital lesions (OR = 1.4) had a significantly longer time from symptom onset to receiving medical care. Conclusions: Self-treatment is common among patients with STDs. Self- treatment of a genital lesion, unlike certain demographic factors and self- treatment of other STD symptoms, did not prolong the time to medical treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)372-377
Number of pages6
JournalSexually transmitted diseases
Volume24
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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