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Socio-medical characteristics of patients attending a V.D. clinic and the circumstances of infection



Socio-medical characteristics of patients attending a V.D. clinic and the circumstances of infection



British Journal of Venereal Diseases 48(5): 391-396



A study to examine the social characteristics of 1753 patients attending a venereal disease (VD) clinic in Belfast in 1969 was undertaken. Information was also sought on the circumstances in which infection took place. Only 24% of the patients were diagnosed as having statutory VD (syphilis, gonorrhea, or chancroid). The peak incidence of cases was found in the 20-34 year age group, approximately 2/3 of the patients. Men were more likely to be single than the women. 2/3 of the men and 3/4 of the women lived with their parents or their spouse. The high proportion of married women reflects that many came to the clinic as secondary contacts. Sailors constituted an important group of male patients. Diagnosis varied with social class: men in social classes I and II were more likely to have nongonococcal urethritis (NGU) (the most common condition found in all male patients) than men in social classes III, IV, and V, who were more likely to have syphilis, gonorrhea, and "other conditions". Women in social classes I and II were more likely to be free of infection than their counterparts in other classes. For patients with gonorrhea, both married and single men were more likely to acquire the infection from a casual contact than their married and single female counterparts. 14 or 1.2% of the male patients admitted to possible homosexual source of infection. The public house and dance hall were the most common meeting places and therefore it is suggested that information about VD be displayed in these places. A majority of men reported consuming alcohol before intercourse. For men, intercourse took place most frequently in the residence of the woman, in cars, or on the street; for women, their residence, residence of the man, or cars were most frequently mentioned. Of the patients to whom the question was applicable, 16.9% of the men and .8% of the women indicated that a cash payment had been made. Diagnosis varied with the use of a sheath. Men who used a sheath were less likely to be diagnosed with syphilis or gonorrhea and more likely to not have an infection or have NGU. From the 119 men with gonorrhea who could identify the source of contact, 45 women sought treatment from the clinic. The study results suggest that there is a pool of promiscuous infected women who do not seek treatment, probably because they are unaware they have an infection, as suggested by results from other studies. Persuading these women to come for treatment is an important step in controlling the spread of infection.

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Accession: 044348090

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PMID: 4678672

DOI: 10.1136/sti.48.5.391


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