Ghanaian Men Living with Sexual Transmitted Infections: Knowledge and Impact on Treatment Seeking Behaviour- A Qualitative Study

Michael N. Azu, Solina Richter, Patience Aniteye

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to explore Ghanaian men’s knowledge about sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and their treatment seeking behaviour. An exploratory descriptive design was used.  The research site for this study was a STI clinic at a large government hospital in the Ashanti region in central Ghana. Purposive sampling was used to recruit men diagnosed with or previously infected with STI/HIV attending the clinic. Twelve participants were interviewed, and the data was thematically analysed. The findings were presented as themes: knowledge of STI, misconception, health seeking behaviour: visiting the hospital, buying drugs, using herbal treatment, visiting the traditional healer, and “shopping for health”. Participants had good knowledge of the causes and/or mode of transmission of STIs/HIV. Their source of information was the radio, friends and education at the STIs/HIV unit of the hospital. Participants had little knowledge about the STIs/HIV treatment options before they received health education from the personnel at the STI/HIV unit. Participants had fallacies and believed they developed STIs/HIV infection because of a curse or someone who wanted them dead or bewitched them.  The overarching reason for participants’ choice of care was an expectation to recover from the infection.Seeking treatment at the hospital was one of the major choices for treatment. Participants tried various forms of treatment to find the most effective treatment. The research findings have several implications for health education, research, and practice in Ghana. There is the need to scale up health education by the various health institutions. Further research is needed on the general treatment seeking behaviour of men with an emphasis on the contextual and cultural differences that influence men’s behavioural change. Gender based research is mostly focused on women and further studies are needed on the health and treatment seeking behaviour of men.(Afr J Reprod Health 2018; 22[3]:24-32).

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