Sexually transmitted infections treatment and care available to high risk populations in Pakistan

Minal Rahimtoola, Hamidah Hussain, Saira N. Khowaja, Aamir J. Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Limited literature exists on the quality and availability of treatment and care of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Pakistan. This article aims to document existing services for the care and treatment of STIs available in Pakistan's public and private sectors to high risk groups (HRG), particularly the transgendered population. We conducted a cross-sectional survey to document STI services in Lahore, Karachi, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, and Quetta. Seventy-three interviews were administered with health service providers at the 3 largest public sector hospitals in each city, as well as with general physicians and traditional healers in the private sector. Twenty-five nongovernmental organizations (NGO) providing STI services were also interviewed. Fewer than 45% of private and public sector general practitioners had been trained in STI treatment after the completion of their medical curriculum, and none of the traditional healers had received any formal training or information on STIs. The World Health Organization (WHO) syndromic management guidelines were followed for STI management by 29% of public and private sector doctors and 5% of traditional healers. STI drugs were available at no cost at 44% of NGOs and at some public sector hospitals. Our findings show that although providers do treat HRGs for STIs, there are significant limitations in their ability to provide these services. These deterrents include, but are not limited to, a lack of STI training of service providers, privacy and adherence to recommended WHO syndromic management guidelines, and costly diagnostic and consultation fees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-110
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of LGBT Health Research
Volume4
Issue number2-3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • High risk groups
  • Hijra
  • Male transgender
  • Pakistan
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • STI treatment and care
  • Vulnerable populations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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