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Factors Associated With Risk Behaviors for Sexually Transmitted Disease/AIDS Among Urban Brazilian Women: A Population-Based Study

SILVEIRA, MARIÂNGELA F. MD, MS*; BÉRIA, JORGE U. MD, PhD†‡; HORTA, BERNARDO L. MD, PhD; TOMASI, ELAINE MS; VICTORA, CESAR G. MD, PhD

Article

Background The proportion of women among persons with sexually transmitted disease (STD)/AIDS in Brazil is increasing rapidly, and studies are needed to understand risk behaviors.

Goal The goal of this study was to identify factors associated with risk behaviors for acquiring STD/AIDS among women aged 15 to 49 years in Pelotas, Brazil.

Study Design A representative sample of women was surveyed by means of interviewer-administered and self-administered confidential questionnaires. Of the women we sought to include, 3.5% refused and 1543 participated.

Results Risk behaviors included nonuse of condoms (72%); first intercourse before the age of 18 years (47%); use of drugs or alcohol by the partner (14%) or by the woman (7%); multiple partners (7%); and anal sex (3%). The risk score was significantly associated with being younger than age 30 years, having <5 years of schooling, being divorced or separated, and being a smoker.

Conclusion Preventive strategies should prioritize efforts toward young women, those with little schooling, smokers, and those who are divorced or separated.

A population-based survey of southern Brazilian women showed that risk behaviors for sexually transmitted disease/AIDS were more frequent among young women, smokers, women with little schooling, and women who were divorced.

From the *Maternal and Child and †Social Medicine Departments, Faculty of Medicine, Universidade Federal de Pelotas, Pelotas; and ‡Faculty of Medicine and Post-Graduate Course in Public Health, Universidade Luterana do Brasil, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Supported by PROAPE-CAPES and CNPq (Ministry of Education and Culture, Brazilian Government).

Reprint requests: Mariangela F. Silveira, MD, MS, Maternal and Child Department, Faculty of Medicine, Avenida Duque de Caxias 250, 96010-160 Pelotas-RS, Brazil. E-mail: maris.sul@terra.com.br

Received for publication August 20, 2001,

revised November 30, 2001, and accepted December 7, 2001.

© Copyright 2002 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association