The objective of this study was to compare self-reported information about sexual behavior in a research interview to information retrieved during a clinical consultation. Social workers interviewed 595 sexually experienced women below 20 years about genital symptoms and sexual behavior. A midwife interviewed and examined the women and took vaginal samples for gonorrhea and chlamydia. Four questions were embedded in both the social workers' interviews and among the midwife's questions. The women were asked if they perceived their latest/current partner to be faithful, if he had complained about any genital symptoms, if a condom was used at latest sexual intercourse, and if the woman knew her HIV status. The prevalence of gonorrhea and/or chlamydia was 7.1%, but for women who reported that their partner had complained about genital symptoms, it was significantly higher. Agreement between answers given in the research interview and to the midwife was good for HIV status, but only fair or moderate for perceived faithfulness, partner's symptoms and recent condom use. Information about risk factors revealed in individual interviews and by the midwives taking a history was incongruent. Any approach for management of STIs, which is built on self-reported risk factors, needs careful assessment of reliability.
African Health Sciences, Volume 11, 2011
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