Author(s): Mmari KN, Oseni O, Fatusi AO
CONTEXT: There is little research on STIs among young people in Nigeria. It is important to determine gender differences in health-seeking behaviors among youth with self-reported STI symptoms.
METHODS: Data from 538 males and females aged 15-24 with at least one STI symptom were drawn from the 2003 and 2005 National HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Health Surveys. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to determine gender differences among those who had sought treatment for their STI symptoms, and the factors related to seeking treatment from formal health care sources versus informal sources.
RESULTS: A greater proportion of males than of females had sought treatment for their STIs (64% vs. 48%). Among those who had sought treatment, 60% of females had gone to formal sources, most commonly a government clinic; 54% of males had sought care from informal sources, most commonly a traditional healer. Females had lower odds than males of having sought STI treatment (odds ratio, 0.6). Among both males and females, economic status was positively associated with seeking treatment from a formal source rather than an informal source (2.4-4.2); among females, 22-24-year-olds were more likely than those aged 15-18 to have sought treatment from a formal source (2.5).
CONCLUSION: Programs and policies that aim to increase treatment of STIs among young people in Nigeria need to target males and females differently.