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.
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.
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.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Received for publication August 20, 2001,
revised November 30, 2001, and accepted December 7, 2001.